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.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
I really enjoyed this listen. Without being dry or overly scholarly, this book offers a wealth of information in a most entertaining way.
There's much here about the growth of English and especially about the brilliance of the language in adopting and adapting from other tongues. I loved the emphasis on the variety and importance of the dialects through history - and this narrator is wonderful at giving examples!
How fortunate we are to have this huge, sloppy, constantly changing English. This read makes me appreciate everything I hear and read even more.
There were so many interesting stories about how words, phrases and other facets of the language emerged, I would enjoy re-reading it to be reminded of them.
Would be enjoyed by anyone who finds words and their origins interesting.
I haven't read the print version, but I know this was better. Robert Powell speaks all of the languages and dialects so well ..... they come alive.
I'm a Soldier in Afghanistan. I’ve been on an adventure. No not in Afghanistan, thought the same could be said my stay here. This is “The Adventure of English”, a book that I have undertaken by Melvyn Bragg. Without TV for distraction when I am not exercising or working during my average day from 5 AM until 10 PM I read for recreation. In the 9 months I’ve been here that has taken me through 51 paper books, eBooks and audio books. In the over 5640 pages and 276 hours of listening, few books have been as interesting, entertaining and informative as “The Adventure of English”. If you are a reader, listener or interested in amazing historical stories this book is well worth the cost in money and time. You’ll be surprised at what has gone into creating the language we speak today. PGP
This is a great story about the evolution of the English language. The author clearly loves the language and revels in its adaptability and flexibility.
He reviews major players that have influenced the language: Tyndale, Wycliffe, King James, Shakespeare.
If you are interested in understanding the English Language, then this is definitely a worthwhile purchase.
Fascinating, unexpected, scholarly
The writer himself. His enthusiasm for his subject, the development of the English language, enlivened what could have been a dry tale. He knew when to draw on one of the personalities in history (Alfred the Great, Chaucer, a British bureaucrat in India) and even his own childhood experiences as a speaker of an English dialect to put us into that period as it was experienced at the time.
I have not, but I'd happily listen to him again. He did a particularly masterful job pronouncing the many words from Norse, Old English, French, or even 20th c. dialects that turned up regularly in the text.
No. As a history it was nice to have the centuries unfold and take time to digest each period.
This book is full of nuggets of information that I kept wanting to share. The scope is broad, and slightly less strong in the most recent centuries, but the first two thirds are riveting. The author treats the language as an almost living thing, evolving through periods of explosive growth, or responding to threats of extinction, taking us through all the unexpected twists in its development like a proud parent.
I keep my self rather busy and love how a good book can unplug me from reality just enough to remember I'm alive.
I have never really liked the English language for more reasons than it was the only class I failed growing up. Though I love writing I just didn't appreciate it, and though I still find it lacking qualities that that other languages may have I love what it took to get it here. The adventure that English has taken to get to this point is rather amazing. The book is way better as an audio book due in part to the many different languages spoken throughout the book. But i do say that the visual aids given in the book are great companions as you listen. Best book for me thus far this year.
the fight between French and English
i really liked the sware words section. was very informitive.
The history of English is fascinating, but even better when narrated by someone who seems able to fluently read in all the different dialects. I am sure I would not have enjoyed this book reading it myself and struggling to attempt the various dialects, since I am not a student of those languages. Hearing the old languages spoken fluentlyadded another dimension to the experience.
This was quite a departure from Melvin Braggs novels; unexpectedly a refreshing change. It made me marvel at our language and how it had evolved - in a rather Darwinian way. Now I do understand a lot more than I did about the curious anomalies we have acquired in our language and why it is so impossibly 'irregular'. Very well researched (from my lay point of view anyway).
I cannot think of any I have read like this.
Truly wonderful. Quite impressed by his ability to convey this complex language within its historical context - especially his convincing attempts at old English. One wonders how much Direction from Bragg was given.
No extreme ones but then it was a field I knew nothing about so I found it enlightening and educational. I could not stop listening. That is always my marker for a good book.
No. Well worth the read especially if you are interested in linguistics or just want to know where our language came from and how it evolved to modern times.