From 'App' To 'Tea': English Examined In '100 Words' | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

From 'App' To 'Tea': English Examined In '100 Words'

Play associated audio

Linguist David Crystal describes English as "a vacuum cleaner of a language" — speakers merrily swipe some words from other languages, adopt others because they're cool or sound classy and simply make up other terms.

Crystal believes every word has a story to tell, even the ones as commonplace as "and." In his new book, he tells The Story of English in 100 Words, he compiles a collection of words — classic words like "tea" and new words like "app" — that explain how the the English language has evolved.

He tells NPR's Neal Conan about the challenge of compiling this list and the idiosyncrasies of the English language.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Sarah Koenig On Serial: 'I Think Something Went Wrong With This Case'

Serial, the hugely popular (and sometimes controversial) podcast spun off from This American Life, wraps up its first season today. Audie Cornish speaks with Serial creator Sarah Koenig.
NPR

What The Change In U.S.-Cuba Relations Might Mean For Food

The decision to normalize relations is driving all kinds of speculation about American food companies opening up shop in Cuba. But analysts say: Don't expect to see McDonald's there anytime soon.
NPR

In List Of Changes For Secret Service, A New Fence Comes First

In independent review panel calls for changes ranging from a better fence at the White House to a new approach to training and leadership within the Secret Service.
NPR

White House Says Any Response To Sony Attack Needs To Be 'Proportional'

The White House won't confirm North Korea is behind the attack, citing an ongoing investigation. Nevertheless, it is mulling over its options.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.