Why is there an 'h' in ghost? William Caxton, inventor of the printing press and his Flemish employees are to blame: without a dictionary or style guide to hand in fifteenth century Bruges, the typesetters simply spelled it the way it sounded to their foreign ears, and it stuck. Seventy-five per cent of English spelling is regular but twenty-five per cent is complicated, and in Spell It Out, our foremost linguistics expert David Crystal extends a helping hand to the confused and curious alike. He unearths the stories behind the rogue words that confound us, and explains why these peculiarities entered the mainstream, in an epic journey taking in sixth century monks, French and Latin upstarts, the Industrial Revolution and the internet. By learning the history and the principles, Crystal shows how the spellings that break all the rules become easier to get right.
This 'engaging history of punctuation' (Wall Street Journal) is not only the first history of its kind, but a complete guide on how to use English punctuation. Behind every punctuation mark lies a thousand stories. The punctuation of English, marked with occasional rationality, is founded on arbitrariness and littered with oddities. For a system of a few dozen marks it generates a disproportionate degree of uncertainty and passion, inspiring organisations like the Apostrophe Protection Society and sending enthusiasts, correction-pens in hand, in a crusade against error. Professor Crystal leads us through this minefield with characteristic wit, clarity and commonsense. He gives a fascinating account of the origin and progress of every kind of punctuation mark over one and a half millennia, and he offers sound advice on how punctuation may be used to meet the needs of every occasion and context.
A Short Walk Home is a heartfelt and inspirational memoir of a father raising and ultimately losing a child to the neurological disorder adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD). Exploring the full extent to which a disease like ALD can shape and affect a life, as both David Cry and his family try to come to grips with the inevitable conclusion to their struggles, A Short Walk Home captures the helplessness and anger that every parent feels at being unable to save their children.Presented in prose both simple and true, A Short Walk Home shows us how to find peace and acceptance--at a time when we need it most. Drawn from the author's personal experience, as well as years of working with individuals and families suffering from ALD, Cry's story is at once both very personal, and very accessible--a story of appreciating what you have, making the most of the time you have left, and finding solace in the face of grief.Contrasting sadness with hope,...