Linguist David Crystal describes English as "a vacuum cleaner of a language" ? speakers merrily swipe some words from other languages, adopt others because they're cool or sound classy and simply make up other terms.
Crystal believes every word has a story to tell, even the ones as commonplace as "and." In his new book, he tells The Story of English in 100 Words, he compiles a collection of words ? classic words like "tea" and new words like "app" ? that explain how the the English language has evolved.
He tells NPR's Neal Conan about the challenge of compiling this list and the idiosyncrasies of the English language.