This guy is so full of himself. Story was so-so and brought up a few good points, but the author spent the time to talk down to his American audience (which I assume because he just said "Civil War" instead of clarifying which civil war). Did not care for it, although if you're going to read this book I recommend listening to it to understand pronunciations.
The whole story is interesting, but if you don't know the real mechanics of languages, you might not get much out of this
Animated. Informed. Enthusiastic.
I'm cursing myself for not paying better attention in English, and all the other languages I took in school. While I know I've heard these terms before (such as "Daitive"), I can't remember exactly what these terms mean. Alas, much of this book was sort of lost on me, and it's all my own fault.
The three words that best describe his performance are:
*(I don't know where the blame goes for this, whether on the recording director or the author himself. The speech pattern he repeatedly returns to involves a falling off into vocal fry toward the ends of his sentences. My ears had to adjust such that they weren't put off by this sound. It's really the only flaw in an otherwise very worthwhile and enjoyable listen. To be able to make an audiobook involving grammar seem lively is a herculean task.)
The deductive approach the author takes to explain the likely sources of modification in our language is satisfyingly rational. While not specifically stated in the text, if one applies Ockham's Razor to the choices presented (such as around our usage of "do"), the point of view presented here makes the most sense.
I'm not sure how engaged I would have been in the written version of this book, but I LOVED the audio version. The author is an awesome narrator and hearing all the pronunciations was great. I very much enjoyed it.
Aside from what seemed to be some minor glitches in the recording, this book is a delightfully edifying exploration of how English has become a unique language among the Indo-European languages. Why did we shed cases? Where does the "do" question construction come from? Or the present "-ing" verb tense come from, among many other interesting features of a language influenced by many waves of immigration, invasion, and cultural mingling.
While I admit to being an analytical, I am definitely not a linguist; still, I loved this book. The author /narrator is superb. The route he takes is not straight or easy to follow, but having said that, it is a great journey, especially if you have ever tried to learn a language other than English. Want to smile, wrinkle your brow, tickle your brain? This is your book. In short, I personally loved listening to this book and I am not effusive by nature.
I've never read everyone else but the author tells us that all traditional thought is wrong and he is correct and it leaves me skeptical.