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The Adventure of English Audiobook

The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language

This is the remarkable story of the English language; from its beginnings as a minor guttural Germanic dialect to its position today as a truly established global language. The Adventure of English is not only an enthralling story of power, religion, and trade, but also the story of people, and how their lives continue to change the extraordinary language that is English.
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Publisher's Summary

This is the remarkable story of the English language; from its beginnings as a minor guttural Germanic dialect to its position today as a truly established global language. The Adventure of English is not only an enthralling story of power, religion, and trade, but also the story of people, and how their lives continue to change the extraordinary language that is English.

©2003 Melvyn Bragg; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Both entertaining and informative." (Booklist)
"This 'biography' succeeds in its broad, sweeping narrative." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (2092 )
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4.1 (886 )
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4.2 (867 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Dr. Amen-Ra Damascus, MD, United States 10-16-11
    Dr. Amen-Ra Damascus, MD, United States 10-16-11 Member Since 2015

    An enlightened ascetic who loves language and learning.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "All lovers of language will laud this book."

    A masterpiece of meticulous linguistic and historical research made intelligible to the interested laymen. So exquisite is the elocution of the narrator, so impressive is his mastery of several spoken languages, that it must be heard, not merely read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Cupertino, CA, United States 09-26-11
    Michael Cupertino, CA, United States 09-26-11 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    12
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    "Dull and should be read not heard"

    This book was such a disappointment. Perhaps the second half would have been better but I couldn't get there. I am shocked that it received high ratings from others - what a disappointment. I want my credits back!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sid Oxnard, CA, United States 09-13-11
    Sid Oxnard, CA, United States 09-13-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Tedium"

    This suffers in comparison to the Great Lectures series on the History of the English language. Those lectures kept me awake and interested. This was soporific rather than an adventure. (An anesthetic, balmy, calming, deadening, dozy, drowsy, dull, hypnotic, mesmerizing, narcotic, nodding, numbing, opiate, quietening, sedative, slumberous, snoozy, somniferous, somnolent, soothing, tranquilizing).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherin Victoria, BC, Canada 08-26-11
    Catherin Victoria, BC, Canada 08-26-11 Member Since 2015
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    14
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    "Excellent"

    A fine story and finely told. The only problem I had with this book is that it was too short.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica San Jose, CA, United States 06-08-11
    Jessica San Jose, CA, United States 06-08-11 Member Since 2013
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    "Entertaining and lovely to listen to"

    The author did a wonderful job writing an entertaining history of the English language and the narrator truly adds to the experience. Hearing the comparisons between English words to the words in other languages from which they evolved is wonderful. I'll admit that as an American I'm learning a fair amount of British history along the way as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimble Louisville, KY, United States 05-01-11
    Kimble Louisville, KY, United States 05-01-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    11
    5
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    "Diagnosis of the English Language"

    The book answers the fundamental question why English outshines all other languages and why it is the "reserve linguistic currency" of the civilized world. Bragg does this not only by (pedantically) charting the sequential evolution of the language but also by describing its singular adaptability to its changing habitat, up to the modern day. A people gets the kind of language it deserves. A good companion piece would be Churchill's "A History of the English Speaking Peoples".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cathy Midrand, South Africa 03-15-11
    Cathy Midrand, South Africa 03-15-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A brilliant adventure in English"

    I have a physical copy of this book, which I found quite heavy going - however, Robert Powell's narration made all the difference. He manages to get his tongue around Old English so well that I actually understood the words, even though they are so different to the English of today. The tale of the growth of the language is fast paced and exciting, with many new insights. I did find the odd list of words quite tiresome at first, until I understood why they were included.

    Overall, I think this is an excellent book for anyone who loves the English language, and wants to understand its roots

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie Gorham, ME, United States 03-10-11
    Stephanie Gorham, ME, United States 03-10-11 Member Since 2005
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    "Disappointing"

    The section of the book on early English is very good. Unfortunately, the section on American English was so poorly researched that I had to stop listening to the book. Many of the derivations claimed for American words were urban legends and were wrong.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Charleston, SC, United States 03-01-11
    Amazon Customer Charleston, SC, United States 03-01-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Interesting, but not what I expected"

    I expected a bit more on the mechanics behind the formation of our language, and hoped that it would delve into the various accents of regional dialects. There was some of that there, but not much and only intermitedly. Also, the author repeatedly made analogies that made it sound as though English were a person ( stuff like "and so our language preserved the norman conquest and overcame the conquerors", hooray), which often served as the whole explanation for why English formed the way it did. I found that irritating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Smith Coatesville, PA, United States 02-28-11
    R. Smith Coatesville, PA, United States 02-28-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Highly Informative"

    Very interesting. I thought I had a good understanding of the origin of English but I was clearly wrong. This work is aimed at a UK audience and the author's use of the collective "we" to mean the English people can be a little disconcerting at times for an American audience. Still I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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