Skip to Main Content

Why Is This a Question?

Everything about the origins and oddities of language you never thought to ask

Published by Elliott & Thompson
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

Why don’t eleven and twelve end in –teen? The rest of our counting system sits in neatly arithmetical sets of ten, so why do these two rulebreakers seem so at odds with the numbers that follow them?

Admittedly, that question might never have occurred to you. But if you’re even remotely interested in the origins and oddities of language, you’re probably now intrigued to know the answer. Nor is it the only question: take a moment to think about how our language operates and even more spring to mind. Why do these letters look the way they do? Why are some uppercase and others lowercase? Why are these words in this order? How are you understanding what these seemingly arbitrary shapes and symbols mean? And what even is a question anyway?

Delving into the origins of our alphabet and writing system; grammatical rules and conventions; the sound structure of language; and even how our brains and bodies interpret and communicate language itself, Why Is This a Question? is a fascinating and enlightening exploration of linguistic questions you’ve likely never thought to ask.

About The Author

Paul Anthony Jones is something of a linguistic phenomenon. He runs the popular @HaggardHawks Twitter feed, blog and YouTube channel, revealing daily word facts to 60,000 engaged followers. His books include: Word Drops: A Sprinkling of Linguistic Curiosities (E&T, 2015), The Accidental Dictionary (E&T, 2016), The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities (E&T, 2017), Around the World in 80 Words (E&T, 2018), as well as several other books on trivia and language. He appears regularly in the media and has contributed to the Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries online. He is also a piano teacher and musician, and lives in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Elliott & Thompson (February 14, 2024)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781783967025

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Paul Anthony Jones