Language changes and moves in a different direction evolving all the time. Where a lot of people see deterioration, I see expressive development

— David Crystal

The most profound David Crystal quotes that are free to learn and impress others

Language has no independent existence apart from the people who use it.

It is not an end in itself; it is a means to an end of understanding who you are and what society is like.


At any one time language is a kaleidoscope of styles, genres and dialects.


Grammar is what gives sense to language .

... sentences make words yield up their meaning. Sentences actively create sense in language. And the business of the study of sentences is grammar.


English has been this vacuum cleaner of a language, because of its history meeting up with the Romans and then the Danes, the Vikings and then the French and then the Renaissance with all the Latin and Greek and Hebrew in the background.


Although many texters enjoy breaking linguistic rules, they also know they need to be understood.


Anyone interested in language ends up writing about the sociological issues around it.


The internet is an amazing medium for languages.


Text messaging is just the most recent focus of people's anxiety;

what people are really worried about is a new generation gaining control of what they see as their language.


Swearing makes an excellent relief mechanism


Vocabulary is a matter of word-building as well as word-using.


Sending a message on a mobile phone is not the most natural of ways to communicate. The keypad isn't linguistically sensible.


You don't talk to a linguist without having what you say taken down and used in evidence against you at some point in time.


About David Crystal

Quotes 27 sayings
Nationality English
Profession Educator
Birthday October 16

Texting has added a new dimension to language use, but its long-term impact is negligible. It is not a disaster.


Word books traditionally focus on unusual and quirky items.

They tend to ignore the words that provide the skeleton of the language, without which it would fall apart, such as 'and' and 'what,' or words that provide structure to our conversation, such as 'hello.


Ever since the arrival of printing - thought to be the invention of the devil because it would put false opinions into people's minds - people have been arguing that new technology would have disastrous consequences for language.


At the same time we overlap, because, I do linguistics, and Ben did a first degree in Linguistics at Lancaster University, so he knows some of my subject.


A feature of English that makes it different compared with all other languages is its global spread.


In effect we are, bending and breaking the rules of the language.

And if someone were to ask why we do it, the answer is simply: for fun


As I get older and I get a few more years experience I become more like Dad, you know, King Lear.


It hasn't been a problem with Ben, I think we worked together very well, we don't have rows.


It took three years to put Shakespeare's words together, there were a lot of words to be studied and a lot of words to be sorted out, and it proved to be a major project.


Spellings are made by people. Dictionaries - eventually - reflect popular choices.


Several of us linguists at that time would record our own kids, just to get some data. There was some literature on it then, but no day-by-day, blow-by-blow examples. I recorded all my children over the years in some shape or form. It's what linguists do. You don't talk to a linguist without having what you say taken down and used in evidence against you at some point in time.


Language itself changes slowly but the internet has speeded up the process of those changes so you notice them more quickly.


Research shows that those kids who text frequently are more likely to be the most literate and the best spellers, because you have to know how to manipulate language.


Academics don't normally manage to alter people's way of thinking through their strength of argument.