Yes, I learned more about history from this book than I would ever have expected. I find myself repeatedly thinking back to things I learned from this book.
I find this book a valuable perspective to anyone with an interest in history or linguistics
Entertaining and informative. Fascinating to learn more about a language that has spread all over the world. Melvyn Bragg is an expert writer.
Historical etymology galore!
The performance is great. There are sections where he lists off 100 word lists, going through each and every one. He does a number of text readings from other languages which sound foreign to my English ears. A fluent speaker of old English or Danish, some of the languages, would be able to give a more accurate review.
I liked the anecdotal stories that were thrown in with history to make the progression of English come alive. It explained a lot of words that I never knew came as the result of war bringing languages into an area or home with the troops.
The delivery was not boring and it kept me engaged.
I listened to this book over 3 days while quilting. It kept my attention- which is pretty good.
I decided to use my time being laid up to get smarter! In 18 months I've listened to over 200 books, mostly history, literature & biography.
Rethinking linguistic roots
Chaucer was resurrected for me because of his genius with the language and his ingenious, natural rhyming. I just had to listen to The Canterbury Tales right afterward!
He made old English sound alive and current. And important.
Affirmed my conviction that I should have been a Linguistics major :)
I wounldn't know; I haven't read the print version. I find it nice to listen in the car, however.
This wasn't a fiction book. I enjoyed the character of English as it progressed. John Wycliff and Chaucer were very interesting participants in the development of English.
Easy to understand. good pacing
English word origins
Jamaican Creole poem on value of dialects to the English language
More fascination than extreme reaction
Anyone interested in the English Language and words will enjoy this.
I didn't know what to expect, but I learned a lot from this book. I liked his narrative style, very smooth and even-easy to understand.
The subject matter was fascinating to me and I was very glad I made this purchase. I will listen to it again as a refresher.
I gave this 4 stars because I'm fascinated by the English language (my native tongue). I suspect many would find this book very dry -- I did in places, even though I cherish it overall. I think it's a book that would appeal to the curious, rather than those who want "a good read." I would love to sit next to this author at a dinner party -- for 30 minutes at a time. He really does trace the beginnings of the language and describe its development in great detail. But I would recommend it only for those who have an insatiable curiosity about the language and a deep love of it.
This is an excellent book that traces the development of the English language from its earliest times to current. The subject matter is excellently put together, but can actually be found in any number of other books. However, this is a book clearly meant to be listened to, and the strongest feature of this book is that the narrator skillfully pronounces the vocabulary and syntax as it was initially. You will not go away uneducated and bored.
Clearly the narrator's ability to speak English as it was spoken.
No. It would not be possible if one wanted to think about the material.