The Reading List: Grammar
Tuesday 05 July 2011
'Eats, Shoots & Leaves' by Lynne Truss, Profile Books, £9.99
Truss's light-hearted and accessible read became an international best-seller when it was published in 2003. Prompted by her anger at the missing apostrophe in the 2002 Hugh Grant rom-com Two Weeks Notice, the former host of Radio 4's Cutting a Dash bemoans the state of the English language, examining the modern use (or misuse) of commas, apostrophes, semicolons and exclamation marks. She looks at the history of punctuation and the damaging effect of email and the internet on modern prose. It has become a must-read for anyone with even a passing interest in linguistics.
'A History of the English Language' by Albert C Baugh & Thomas Cable, Routledge, £24.99
The definitive work in its field, Baugh's comprehensive and detailed analysis was first published in 1951 and has continued to be updated and reissued ever since. Beginning with a look at the Middle Ages, Baugh traces the evolution of modern grammar and language with aplomb.
'The Mother Tongue' by Bill Bryson, Penguin, £9.99
In his characteristic wry style, Bryson, best known for his tongue-in-cheek travel memoirs, takes a rollicking look at the origins and evolution of the English language. How did it become so internationally dominant? How did today's version emerge? Where do dialects come from? Packed with anecdotes, nuggets of wisdom and hilarious instances of grammar gone wrong, The Mother Tongue offers an accessible, refreshing survey of the linguistic landscape.
'The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language' by David Crystal, Cambridge University Press, £28.99
One of the world's foremost linguistic experts, Crystal has authored numerous tomes on the history and study of the English language, though this, with its full-colour illustrations and exhaustive index, is arguably the most comprehensive. A useful guide for anyone – from the interested layperson to the most widely read of academics.
'Ulysses' by James Joyce, Penguin Modern Classics, £9.99
Playing with the boundaries of what is grammatically correct, Joyce departs from normal convention to experiment with stream of consciousness, vocabulary, and creative punctuation.
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Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 2 Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
- 3 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 4 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
- 5 Kenya bus attack: Al-Shabaab militants kill 28 non-Muslims who failed to recite Koran
Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
Beyoncé '7/11' music video: Star bounces on bed in low-fi homage to viral video
Angelina Jolie confirms retirement from acting: 'I've never been comfortable on-screen'
Lana Del Rey rape video: Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track