This book gives an approachable survey of the evolution of English. I learned many things, such as the strong influence of French on English via the Norman Conquest. The author speaks from a British perspective. If you are not familiar with, say, the Battle of Hastings, you may want to consult Wikipedia as you go along.
I grew bored during the second half of the book, and felt I had to slog to the finish line. This may be because, as the author moves forward in time, the history becomes more familiar. While it was interesting to learn about the language of the Wild West cowboys, I found this part less engaging because I already knew about them.
The book could say as much as it does in about 2/3 of the space. The periodic rhapsodies to the power of English can wear thin after a while. Nonetheless, I don't regret reading it.
I listen while driving. When I review, I'm much more apt to discuss the performance than the content. Sometimes, a bit of both.
Good recording! Probably one of those books best enjoyed audibly rather than in writing. Robert Powell does well with various accents and inflections. If you love languages and English in particular then this will be quite a treat!
The English language, languages and the derivation and evolution of words have always intrigued me, so as a sort of closet linguist I just want to say how much I am enjoying this audio book, it is just fascinating and offers up an incredible wealth of information on the durable and ever evolving English language and it's history.
Filled with great history of the English language with etymology that is fun, educational and inspired. The voice of Robert Powell brings the words to life and makes the audio version of this book phenomenal.
I found this book very interesting. I appreciate the narrator being able to pronounce the Olde English and other foreign words. Interesting stories explaining or illustrating concepts. I recommend this book much more as an audio read than a visual one!
I have a high tolerance for dry subjects but this one was a little too dry for me. Might be the wrong format. Might be the wrong subject. Just a little too serious for me.
In some ways I found this an unnecessary book - it doesn't do anything that wasn't already done in Robert McCrum's "The Story of English" or Bill Bryson's "Mother Tongue". Having read those books, I didn't feel that I learned anything new. However, it was a pleasure to experience a book on this subject in audio format - Robert Powell is a brilliant narrator and does a superb job of reading Old English and the numerous accents required of him (only Uncle Remus seems to defeat him - the result is very awkward). If you've never read a book on this subject, this will be a fascinating experience. Even if you have, it might be worthwhile for Powell's narration.
This is not your "dry" history book. The writer make the subject come alive. Additionally, I gained a better appreciation of the English language.
Having listened to half of this title, I consider this a great disappointment. I was looking for some insight into how English developed and how language develops in general, but there was little insightful about that here. Just as an example, the great vowel shift, a great mystery in the history of English, is barely mentioned. I guess it would be interesting if you aren't interested in linguistics but only in a sketch of English history, but I had hoped for much more than that, given the title and reviews on this website.
Some of the word lists can be a bit tedious, but it's a small price to pay for the insight provided in this book. A couple of friends have gone through this at the same time and we both believe we are the richer fo having gone on this journey.