The author seems to connect well with a non specialist audience. Some of the examples are hard to follow in audio format. Nonetheless he clarifies and makes interesting an obscure subject.
McWhorter is engaging, entertaining and enlightening. I love listening to his theories about language and am in awe of his scholarship. He has twice shaken my unrecognized assumptions about English and language in general. One, that there are rules of grammar that are immutable, and, two, that our language shapes our thinking. Wrong on both counts.
I loved his rant about the Celtic influences on English.
Himself. Or maybe when he imitated an Englishwoman.
A lusty linguist slap down
This is a scholarly work that was beyond my level. But, thought provoking. I have a new appreciation for linguist. It is not light reading. Keep the bed side lamp on.
the once and future language of civilized planet Earth... no really, 20 words??? OK Then
For anyone with a slight linguistic bent (or even just someone irritated with the seeming nuance of grammar class), this book is a great read! McWhorter's narration adds extra depth with the occasional off text comment thrown in. Highly recommended!!!
Audible has helped me expand my appreciation for history, science and the arts. The Great Courses series are illuminating. More please!!
This is a wonderful tour thru the roots of our present day English language. At times a bit erudite for this science major but generally quite interesting and very well delivered. The fact that I am considering a second listen conveys my interest in this fascinating topic.
I've read a few books on the history and development of English. In a way, Mr. McWhorter diagnosed how most of those were written, as 'travelogues' in search of where the words in English came from. But not really information about how or why.
This book 'fixes' that. The author wasn't afraid to state directly his thesis as to how and why English became what English became. I won't include spoilers but some of his suppositions are certainly surprising.
But he laid out much information of which I was unaware. I've studied Latin, German and Spanish, but am not fluent in any. However I understand the ideas of verb conjugation across cases, noun endings and word ordering to appreciate how odd English really is. And now I better appreciate WHY I had the issues I did in studying these non-native (to me) languages.
I'd actually recommend this book to anyone who plans to study non-English languages. It might give you some warning of pitfalls.
Highly recommend! This guy is clever, smart, a great storyteller and possessed of a huge amount of arcane knowledge. Apparently, he also has a passing familiarity with the inner workings of about 30 languages. Amazing stuff.
As you may already know, English is unlike most of the other Germanic languages. It has a lot of influences from Old Norse which happened during the Viking raids and the invasion of the Normans. Add to this the constant influence of the other languages in British Isles, and you get a language that is a melding of many.
This book is about the linguistic roots of English.
An interesting idea well put. If you have an interest in how our language works and why then good info in here to feed your thinking.