I read science, biographies, histories, mysteries, adventures, thrillers, educationals, linguistics but not no way, not no how, romances.
I will admit that when this book began it was a little rambling, a little disjointed. The story begins with seemingly disperate paragraphs on the groups that invaded England and how they cobbled together a language of sorts. I made it through the first two chapters only moderately interested. Then it really gets good.
First, the narrator is a masterpiece. He does seven or eight accents and even speaks in old and middle english with almost no effort. This book is BETTER in audio format because we can hear how the language has changed so drastically.
The writing also cleans up and becomes a straightforward biography of our language. He takes us through the times when it was in peril, when it spread and when it took over. The book is populated by amazing characters in history to which we owe so much of our daily lives. Without prejudice Mr. Bragg takes us into the branches of American English, Shakespeare, southern dialect, rock and roll songs, Irish and the snobs who tried (without success) to tame our language.
This is a story of the Western World, of the battle of thoughts and ideas, of the struggles between the oppressed and the oppressors and how language keeps us alive and thriving. It's more than a story of English, it's a story of us. And we didn't even know it. This has been a thrilling read.
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.
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.
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 a great listen. Being British and having a mother with a very "proper" accent and a father with a lovely Scottish accent made this book an even better adventure. It gave me a clear understanding of many of the odd terms and quotes and sayings which are such a part of our family. If you are from anywhere in Britain you will marvel at the reader's command of dialects both ancients and modern. I really enjoy it when I can learn a lot from a book and be entertained at the same time.