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Joe

St. Cloud, MN, United States

27
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 2 reviews
  • 9 ratings
  • 26 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold Story of English

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By John McWhorter
    • Narrated By John McWhorter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1024)
    Performance
    (769)
    Story
    (768)

    A survey of the quirks and quandaries of the English language, focusing on our strange and wonderful grammar. Why do we say "I am reading a catalog" instead of "I read a catalog"? Why do we say "do" at all? Is the way we speak a reflection of our cultural values? Delving into these provocative topics and more, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue distills hundreds of years of fascinating lore into one lively history.

    Mike says: "Great for casual linguists"
    "Fascinating history of English grammar changes"
    Overall

    McWhorter presents a fascinating argument about how English came to its present, rather unique state. His history emphasizes how we got our grammar, and quirks like "the useless 'do'", based on the interaction of German and the indigenous languages (e.g., Celtic). The author reads; I found him very pleasant to listen to. There's some nice humor, too. The only negative is the chapter on the Whorf-Sapir hypothesis. It seems like it's in the wrong book and the polemics seems a bit overwrought, given that it's an old argument about whether language shapes thought to any great extent. Skip that chapter and it'll be a fascinating listen/read.

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • 101 Theory Drive: A Neuroscientist's Quest for Memory

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs)
    • By Terry McDermott
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (154)
    Performance
    (53)
    Story
    (55)

    It's not fiction: Gary Lynch is the real thing, the epitome of the rebel scientist - malnourished, contentious, inspiring, explosive, remarkably ambitious, consistently brilliant. He is one of the foremost figures of contemporary neuroscience, and his decades-long quest to understand the inner workings of the brain's memory machine has begun to pay off.

    Joe says: "Fascinating tale of a scientific maverick's lab"
    "Fascinating tale of a scientific maverick's lab"
    Overall

    Disclaimer: I am a psychological scientist, so your enjoyment mileage may differ, but I found 101 Theory Drive a truly fascinating tale. McDermott's detailed account of the scientific (and personal) life of Gary Lynch--who first correctly worked out the neurological bases of memory formation in the brain--is full of interesting details about the life and work of a brilliant thinker and scientific investigator...warts, setbacks and all. It's got a lot of physiological detail, which may bore/confuse some readers, but it does not require a lot of knowledge to follow, and it is truly fascinating if you are at all interested in how the brain becomes "mind". I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the way science REALLY works and in how creative thinkers often work.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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