There is so much valuable information here that I'm going to buy the book for easier reference. If you love or just curious about the English language in the context of history, you will love this book. Excellent research, excellent story-telling, excellent narration.
What a delightful read. I learned more about world history than I could have imagined. A wonderful journey from start to finish. Take the trip, you will enjoy it!!
Aside from having one of the best narrators available, this book is engaging, informative, and frequently enlightening. If you have even the slightest interest in history, get it. You will not be disappointed.
For those to whom writing and speaking English are important in their professional or personal lives this is a must. This work provides both entertainment and valuable insight into the most adaptable language in the world.
When I purchased this audio I wasn't sure what to expect, but it quickly fascinated me to learn how English became such a widely used language, how it evolved and where the origin of many of our words today came from. Wonderfully read and informative. Just what I was hoping for.
The book began with great promise...very thoroughly researched, etc. but then some of the author's religiosity seeped in...maybe it is a pet peeve, but he is rarely a bit preachy and I object to the occasional "I this " and "I that". Some of encyclopedic lists are tiresome when narrated but may be better when you can skim while reading. The section on Shakespeare and medieval English is very good, as are some of the sections on various world dialects of English, although I was, for selfish reasons, a bit disappointed when aspects like the Southern accent in America was not discussed. Towards the end, it gets very tiresome, with the author seemingly trying to impress the reader with a laundry list of new slang terms. Narration was pretty good.
This was both a good and not so good book to listen to. The not so good first. There are so many words in the book that I probably forget most of them. Thus having a printed copy would be a great thing. The good. The reader pronounces all these words fantastic, something I could never have down with only the printed words in front of me. There were many items about the english language I never realized. There are many items about english as it is evolving in my liftime that I now have a new appreciation for.
Tells the story of the English language both from the artistic and the political perspective. Narrated as well as it is written.
Have you ever wondered where our peculiar phrases and words come from? Pass the buck, cowboy, okay, etc? Melvyn Bragg tells the story of the language as it developed and incorporated influences and went on to influence other languages. He is a bit slow at the start, but you should be intrigued because he makes the case that at the time of World War II a man from mid-Britain could make himself understood in Iceland within a couple of weeks--the pronunciation and grammar of two languages having so much still in common. Bragg goes on to follow the tale of English when it survived due to intervention by Alfred the Great, when it flourished so much that it outlasted incursion by French conquerers, tinkering and explosion in the New World, etc. The second half moves along much more quickly, but the first half, which concludes with the impact of Shakespeare on the langugage is well worth listening to.
Pretty steady, but you could tell that the speaker was unfamiliar with several North American frontier introductions--his pronunciation of lasso is a hoot, but you still enjoy his reading.
The Adventure of English is chockablock with intriguing linguistic tidbits. For instance, the distinction between cow and beef comes from the French occupation of England: cow is the term the English serfs used as they cared for livestock; beef is what the French elite called the meat at mealtime. How about this one: did you know "wowser" comes from an Australian political acronym (we only want societal evils remedied)? Admittedly, Bragg is sometimes guilty of information overload, but wading through the details is worth the listener's while.
Powell's performance is remarkable. He quite convincingly vacillates between languages and accents. Usually, I quit thinking about the narrator somewhere in the course of the audiobook, but not in Powell's case. I would consider other works narrated by him.
I recommend this work for logophiles and anyone else interested in language.