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From Homer ("winged words") to Robert Burns ("Beware a tongue that's smoothly hung") to Rudyard Kipling ("Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind"), writers from all over the world have put pen to paper on the inexhaustible topic of language. Yet surprisingly, their writings on the subject have never been gathered in a single volume. In Words on Words, David and Hilary Crystal have collected nearly 5,000 quotations about language and all its intriguing aspects: speaking, reading, writing, translation, verbosity, usage, slang, and more. As the stock-in-trade of so many professions—orators, media personalities, writers, and countless others—language's appeal as a subject is extraordinarily relevant and wide-ranging.
The quotations are grouped thematically under 65 different headings, from "The Nature of Language" through the "Language of Politics" to "Quoting and Misquoting." This arrangement enables the reader to explore a topic through a variety of lenses, ancient and modern, domestic and foreign, scientific and casual, ironic and playful. Three thorough indexes—to authors, sources, and key words—provide different entry points into the collection. A valuable resource for professional writers and scholars, Words on Words is for anyone who loves language and all things linguistic.