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 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.
yes, if the friend is interested in language and history. It is written in a very engaging and interesting manner
no one moment but the dabbling in Eastern languages was interesting.
no - I found the story very intriguing, though I do wish the author had not continued to harp on those who challenge the influence of Celtic on English.
The reader was outstanding - probably the best reading of non-fiction that I have heard; varied appropriately, brought emotion to it. excellently read
I'm a lawyer and mediator. I represent businesses in disputes with their insurers and in other complex litigation. I also assist machinery companies and manufacturers (primarily international) with equipment sales, non-disclosure agreements, and business issues. I also mediate commercial disputes.
This was a pretty enjoyable book that makes some interesting connections about the history of the English language. As someone who has tried (with only moderate success) to learn German, it helps explain why English, although a Germanic language, is so "un-German." I found some of the author's conclusions more plausible than others, but they are all presented in an entertaining fashion.
The narration is good. McWhorter comes across as a very opinionated and very capable college professor giving an impassioned lecture, maybe with just a little too much caffeine. If you don't like opinionated, then maybe this is not for you, but I give him high marks because he is not boring.
There is a lot of information here, which I couldn't exactly recount to you, but it was very interesting.
He writes and reads with subtle humor that made the subject very entertaining.
A little too text booky for me. I thought I was a ligneous geek, but i guess not geeky enough.
Fewer examples more stories.
Monica Drouilly Hurtado
Mediante un acercamiento serio, sin caer en lo academisista, el libro recorre la historia del ingles, la lengua franca del día de hoy.
Recomendaría escuchar o leer 'The languaje Instinct' de Pinker.
El devenir de las declinaciones.
Indispensable para todos los que nos comunicamos en algún idioma.
Loving long books.
Finally, a book about grammar that explains why we say what we say for the rest of us.
Its absolutely amazing how relatively small populations significantly influenced the English language over time, not just the Vikings.
John McWorter, the author, has a passion for this subject which he brings forth in his reading. This passion brings to our English grammar a level of engagement which is infectious and carries us through two subjects, English and History, which most of us never enjoyed and leaves us wanting more.
The scribe who made English english.
Most of us, including me, find grammar uninteresting and discussion about it pointless. It's kinda amazing as to how John McWorter makes it interesting and explains just how pointless most people using English found it oner time.