David Crystal now has a blog!


Why should you care? Because, as you already know (don’ t you?) David Crystal is the absolute guru of English language study. He’s a proper serious linguist yet has done more than anyone else to popularise academically respectable ideas about language. If you want to have just one book about language on your shelves, make it David Crystal’s Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language.

I took some sixth-form students to a study day in Leeds a few years back and when Crystal came on he was greeted like a rock star. Honestly. I’m not being ironic or hyperbolic here.

And now he has a blog, so you can read what’s on his mind just now. You can leave comments and maybe he’ll answer them. You can read his advice to a sixth-form student about doing research (it’s one of his first posts).

So what are you waiting for? get along to david-crystal.blogspot.com now!

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2 Responses to David Crystal now has a blog!

  1. annelise says:

    hi. I have just read throught one of teh posts put on the blog amde by David Crystal and im afraid i am unable to reply or even look much further. The reason is feel slightly intimidated by him and if i was to reply im scared fo humiliating myself. Yes he does bring up some interesting points but still i would just show my lack of intelligence by replying (its a task within itself understanding what he is talking about).

  2. Mr Heald says:


    I really hadn’t thought of that reaction to Crystal’s blog.

    But would you believe me if I said I understand the feeling absolutely?

    I’m scared of humiliating myself in all sorts of contexts: not least every day in school. Maybe you see me as this poised, articulate, intelligent bloke, holding all the cards, ready with a casually sarcastic quip to crush the ego of any student foolish enough to venture a comment that isn’t spot-on. I hope not, though. It’s certainly not how I feel. I never feel more than a cigarette-paper’s width from being an object of total ridicule, derision and contempt, waiting for my head-of-department to call me to one side in the staff room and say, “Can I have a word – it’s just that I’m afraid I’ve been getting one or two complaints from your students…”

    You see, just as you feel lacking in confidence in the face of linguistic discourse that is a language you’re only just beginning to learn, so I often feel bewildered by aspects of discourse of the young people it’s my privilege to teach. And I struggle to know how to bridge the gap between where you all are in terms of your grasp and experience of the little slice of knowledge I know something about, and where I know you could be if only I were a better teacher and could make this stuff that I find so fascinating more accessible to you. I think the thing here is to be open to each other’s way of thinking and speaking and being, and for you to tell me if you can see a better way of doing things.

    So yes, if something baffles you, good for you for saying so: it’s better than the deafening wall of cyber-silence that I sometimes feel is greeting the effort I’m putting in to this blog. And you know what? Just maybe, David Crystal feels the same. Maybe he’s set up his blog so that it doesn’t accept comments, because he’s so famous and respected that he thinks he’ll get too many. Or maybe he’s not getting any comments because people feel intimidated like you do, and unworthy of saying anything.

    But it’s fairly obvious he doesn’t want you to feel intimidated, just as I don’t. Did you read the post on there titled ‘On doing linguistic research’? It was prompted by a question from a sixth form student.Yes, someone like you. Read it, and if there’s anything you don’t understand that you can’t work out for yourself, ask me, or ask him. But most of all take on board what he’s getting at. I think it’s summed up in his sentence, “All research comes from the same origins – a curiosity, interest, desire to find out.”

    We’ve all got that.

    Haven’t we?

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