Great information, well researched and easy to follow.
His examples to support his points are clear and easy to understand, especially in audiobook format.
I always like it when an author is willing to perform his own book. In this case, with all of the different language examples, it really helped to have it pronounced by someone who understands the point the author (himself) was trying to make.
You do not need to be a linguist to enjoy this book, but some general knowledge about language, geography and European culture will help.
The information was great, but the author wrote the entire book as if he was responding to a linguistic theory that he disagreed with, constantly referring to how his argument refutes the standard theories. Unfortunately, I am not familiar with the standard theories and would have greatly appreciated if he had simply stated his own case convincingly instead. Frankly, the most frustrating part about it was how easy it would be to simply edited out the arguing parts. They were neither informative nor helpful and were thus, completely superfluous.
I usually avoid books read by the author. Prof McWhorter performs as if he's speaking to you directly. Very engaging and really interesting information.
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.
Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue is a concise introduction to the evolution of the English language, and is a great choice for anyone who is interested in learning more about the history of English without making a huge investment of time. This book makes connections further back in history than other books and gives more focus to grammar rather than the more common emphasis on vocabulary. It gets a bit speculative about some influences, such as possible Phoenician influences, but those speculations make it more fun. It is a good companion piece to Melvyn Bragg's "The Adventure of English", also available from Audible. John McWhorter, the author, does an excellent job of narrating, and this audiobook is a great example of the value an author who is also a capable narrator can bring to narrating their own work. The passion they have for the topic comes through in their narration and it makes it fun to listen to them. Well done!
"This must be Thursday...I never could get the hang of Thursdays." -- Douglas Adams
I loved this book so much that I instantly restarted it the moment I finished it!
Be advised -- this is NOT a dry book about the derivation of English vocabulary. This is a witty, well-written, well-narrated history of why we speak the way we do. So it's more grammar than vocab -- and it's terribly interesting because the author puts everything in the historical/geographical context (which sounds dry, but it's done well).
I'm also really glad that I listened to the audiobook version of this because the author/narrator gives many examples of where our language comes from, and I think it's easier to get his point since he pronounces those examples on the audiobook version.
There were many times that I found myself laughing during this book. It's such a great mix of wit and information. Definitely worth the listen if you have any interest in the history of our language.
I grabbed this book on a whim based mainly on the amusing title, and because I've been enjoying some linguistics podcasts lately. I thought this might be mildly interesting, informative, and since it's relatively short, it would be easy to get through. My only disappointment was that it was over so quickly. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and find myself idly thinking about some of the points the author raises while going about my day to day business. Definitely worth the listen if linguistics, grammar or the history of language seem at all interesting to you. Well written, well narrated and much more interesting than this subject sounds like it will be.
I would rank this book at the top of the list, considering I couldn't stop listening. I used to hate English because of the way it changed so radically from its earlier form. After listening to why it changed so much I have a new respect of our language.
History of Germanic languages.
Sometimes reading about grammar and linguistics can be boring but listening to it brings out the story so that it is extremely interesting. Grammar is history.
Footsteps of the English Language through 1000 years.
Not only does the Author tell us why English changed but where possibly the Proto-Germanic languages sprung from.
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 would recommend this book to anyone interested in the subject. I would have given it five stars except the author is a bit schizophrenic about who his audience is. He switches from writing to the "lay" reader, like myself, and to other linguists, addressing conflicts that the lay reader would have very little interest in.