Kidnapping, attempted assassination, espionage … not the answers you’d expect to the question ‘what happens when you become a linguist?’

But now, reflecting on a long and hugely successful career at the forefront of the field of English Language and Linguistics, David Crystal answers this question and offers us a special look behind the scenes at the adventures, rewards, challenges and pitfalls of his life in language.

Both an autobiography and a highly accessible introduction to the field of linguistics, Just a Phrase I’m Going Through illuminates and entertains us with its many insights into the ever-fascinating subject of language.

David Crystal is synonymous with language, both as a great populariser and linguistic pioneer, and his contribution to the field is unparalleled. This is a book not just for students and teachers but for all lovers of language.

For more about David Crystal at Routledge, visit: www.routledge.com/textbooks/9780415485746.

chapter |5 pages


chapter 1|10 pages

Being a linguist

chapter 2|11 pages

A semilingual start

chapter 3|13 pages

New worlds

chapter 4|15 pages

Liverpool school

chapter 5|14 pages

Extra-curricular acts

chapter 6|14 pages

Learning, and not learning, about language

chapter 7|11 pages

Becoming academic

chapter 8|14 pages


chapter 9|14 pages

Worlds within worlds

chapter 10|14 pages

Becoming professional

chapter 11|32 pages

The sexy subject

chapter 12|12 pages

Meeting needs

chapter 13|13 pages

Choices and consequences

chapter 14|13 pages

Meetings and meetings

chapter 15|15 pages

Looking for remedies

chapter 16|14 pages

Why did you resign?

chapter 17|16 pages

The encyclopedia game

chapter 18|18 pages

Schizoid man

chapter 19|17 pages

Busyness and business