Cambridge, encyclopedia of the english language, Crystal D., 2019

Cambridge, encyclopedia of the english language, Crystal D., 2019.

A book about the English language - or about any individual language - is a daring enterprise, for it has as many perceptive critics as there are fluent readers. The language as a whole belongs to no one, yet everyone owns a part of it, has an interest in it, and has an opinion about it. Moreover, whenever people begin to talk about their own language, they all have something to offer - favourite words or sayings, dialect anecdotes and observations, usage likes and dislikes. Individual linguistic memories, experiences, and abilities enable everyone to make a personal contribution to language chat. In a sense, we are all truly equal when we participate - even though this democratic vision is disturbed by the widely-shared perception that some (notably, those who have learned the terminology of language study) are more equal than others.

Cambridge, encyclopedia of the english language, Crystal D., 2019


The Roman god, Janus, here seen on a Roman coin in his usual representation with a double-faced head. A spirit associated with doorways and archways, looking backwards as well as forwards, he is also often regarded as the god
of beginnings. The month of January is named after him.
His location on this opening spread has, however, a further significance. The two facets of language study represented on these pages - of structure and use - have traditionally been
studied independently of each other (§14). A major theme of the present book is to assert their inter-dependence. What are English structures for, if not to be used? And how can we understand the uses of English, without investigating
their structure? Structure and use are two sides of the same coin, Roman or otherwise, and this principle is reflected in the organization of the present book (see Preface).

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