For a book aimed at a general audience, McWhorter belabors, seriously belabors the first point in the book to utter tedium. Besides that, his repeated incredulity at his thesis regarding the Celtic influence on English not being widely accepted by linguists detracts from the material. Yes, I understand they don't agree; you don't have to tell me 20 times. It got to the point I just couldn't listen any further.
Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy
I absolutely loved McWhorter's The History of Human Language and was really looking forward to this book.
Well, it was nothing like the other one and I had to quit an hour and a half shy of the end. McWhorter's enthusiasm and
playfulness were totally missing. He might as well have been conjugating verbs for 5 hours; it would have sounded the same to me. Great title, not so great book!
This book, in my opinion, is for serious linguists. If you are looking for something both educational and fun, get his Great Course audiobook mentioned above.
The history of the English language is always a fun topic for me, and the author provides a new take on it, noting the less-well-known Swedish and the Irish contributions to English. In a lot of ways, it was a fun listen, and the reader was excellent, but it should be understood that the author is promoting his particular theories about English development, and you can't help wondering what the academic critics of the book might have had to say in response. Unless you are very interested in linguistics, you are not likely to try to find out how the academic arguments went after its publication.
I found this book to be quite entertaining and informative. This is not the type of book I usually listen to, but the topic intrigued me so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm glad I did. The author/narrator had a well fleshed out theory about the origins of the English language. All of his ideas were quite reasonable and believable. He is also an entertaining narrator. This could have been a dry somewhat boring topic, but his added humor and pleasant voice kept me listening.
Never listened to John McWhorter before, but I would again.
Anyone who has listened to Professor McWhorter's Teaching Company lectures knows that he is an excellent communicator who often has something worth communicating. Unfortunately, in this book he presents three or four ideas and spends hour after hour of your life repeating them to you. Apparently, if I was a professional linguist I would be bent over in paroxysms of rage at the heresies the author serves to us in this book. Since I am not, and everything sounds like common sense worked out over and over again, I was left counting the minutes until the end. Not recommended.
I've bought numerous copies of this book in printed to give to friends who I knew shared my interests in history and language. I don't know how many of them loved it as much as I did, but having the opportunity to hear McWhorter himself read the text was too much for me to resist. I had originally found out about this Author through his Great Courses lectures on The Story of Human Language (which I'm delighted to see just became available on Audible) and have sought out more of his work since then. I can't claim to have read it all, but I like his no-nonsense approach to explaining ideas. He cites pop culture references, keeping his discussion casual, but at the same time he doesn't dumb it down in any sense. If you enjoy learning about language, history or just hearing a great story -- whether the ideas he brings together in this book bear scrutiny, is hard to say -- you should definitely give this one a listen.
I selected this book because the title seemed cool, but the book quickly fell into the weeds for me - far too much grammar detail. I suppose I was looking more for the historical aspect rather than the grammar details. Narrator was enthusiastic; the content was just too dry for me. If you are a linguist, you will probably love this one.
I am am accountant, I don't care about English, but saw John on tv and was going to see his lecture at a conference, so downloaded this book. What am awesome book, really enjoyed it, and his lecture. I liked the book so much i just logged in to download another one of his books.
Fantastic narration by the author! I loved every minute of it. A lot of thought provoking theories. If you're at all interested in the history of English, this is a must read!
Where I grew up many community's were still somewhat isolated and the English speech GRAMER was different. I learned why. I, at times would say things out of order, strange to those I was speaking to. The heavy German, Norwegian and Scandinavian influence gave me an accent that still surfaces to day after over 60 years. My grandmother, born in the USA grow up on a farm were the old language mixed with English was spoken, was the heaviest influence. Why not my mother? I have no explanation.