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The Adventure of English Audiobook

The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language

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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

4.1 (2453 )
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4.2 (1217 )
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4.3 (1204 )
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Sally Greeley, CO, USA 08-13-12
    Sally Greeley, CO, USA 08-13-12
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    "This was very informative and entertaining"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I didn't know what to expect, but I learned a lot from this book. I liked his narrative style, very smooth and even-easy to understand.
    The subject matter was fascinating to me and I was very glad I made this purchase. I will listen to it again as a refresher.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    carolyn 06-20-12
    carolyn 06-20-12
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    "Best for lovers of the language"

    I gave this 4 stars because I'm fascinated by the English language (my native tongue). I suspect many would find this book very dry -- I did in places, even though I cherish it overall. I think it's a book that would appeal to the curious, rather than those who want "a good read." I would love to sit next to this author at a dinner party -- for 30 minutes at a time. He really does trace the beginnings of the language and describe its development in great detail. But I would recommend it only for those who have an insatiable curiosity about the language and a deep love of it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob 06-07-12
    Bob 06-07-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Excellent Listen"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is an excellent book that traces the development of the English language from its earliest times to current. The subject matter is excellently put together, but can actually be found in any number of other books. However, this is a book clearly meant to be listened to, and the strongest feature of this book is that the narrator skillfully pronounces the vocabulary and syntax as it was initially. You will not go away uneducated and bored.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Adventure of English?

    Clearly the narrator's ability to speak English as it was spoken.


    What about Robert Powell’s performance did you like?

    Perfection


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. It would not be possible if one wanted to think about the material.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 06-01-12
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 06-01-12

    Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!

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    "Adventure Indeed"

    I really enjoyed this listen. Without being dry or overly scholarly, this book offers a wealth of information in a most entertaining way.
    There's much here about the growth of English and especially about the brilliance of the language in adopting and adapting from other tongues. I loved the emphasis on the variety and importance of the dialects through history - and this narrator is wonderful at giving examples!
    How fortunate we are to have this huge, sloppy, constantly changing English. This read makes me appreciate everything I hear and read even more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rhys Auckland, New Zealand 05-29-12
    Rhys Auckland, New Zealand 05-29-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Fascinating journey into the origins and history"
    Would you listen to The Adventure of English again? Why?

    There were so many interesting stories about how words, phrases and other facets of the language emerged, I would enjoy re-reading it to be reminded of them.


    Any additional comments?

    Would be enjoyed by anyone who finds words and their origins interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Percy Orlando, FL 05-22-12
    Percy Orlando, FL 05-22-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Interesting things about English"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Adventure of English to be better than the print version?

    I haven't read the print version, but I know this was better. Robert Powell speaks all of the languages and dialects so well ..... they come alive.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I'm a Soldier in Afghanistan. I’ve been on an adventure. No not in Afghanistan, thought the same could be said my stay here. This is “The Adventure of English”, a book that I have undertaken by Melvyn Bragg. Without TV for distraction when I am not exercising or working during my average day from 5 AM until 10 PM I read for recreation. In the 9 months I’ve been here that has taken me through 51 paper books, eBooks and audio books. In the over 5640 pages and 276 hours of listening, few books have been as interesting, entertaining and informative as “The Adventure of English”. If you are a reader, listener or interested in amazing historical stories this book is well worth the cost in money and time. You’ll be surprised at what has gone into creating the language we speak today. PGP


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Corley Mobile, AL 05-17-12
    Andrew Corley Mobile, AL 05-17-12 Member Since 2011

    Systems Engineer

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    "Compelling, humorous story and great performance"

    This is a great story about the evolution of the English language. The author clearly loves the language and revels in its adaptability and flexibility.

    He reviews major players that have influenced the language: Tyndale, Wycliffe, King James, Shakespeare.

    If you are interested in understanding the English Language, then this is definitely a worthwhile purchase.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Gouverneur Amherst, MA United States 05-04-12
    Elizabeth Gouverneur Amherst, MA United States 05-04-12 Member Since 2008
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    "History of English told as a good detective story"
    If you could sum up The Adventure of English in three words, what would they be?

    Fascinating, unexpected, scholarly


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The writer himself. His enthusiasm for his subject, the development of the English language, enlivened what could have been a dry tale. He knew when to draw on one of the personalities in history (Alfred the Great, Chaucer, a British bureaucrat in India) and even his own childhood experiences as a speaker of an English dialect to put us into that period as it was experienced at the time.


    Have you listened to any of Robert Powell’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not, but I'd happily listen to him again. He did a particularly masterful job pronouncing the many words from Norse, Old English, French, or even 20th c. dialects that turned up regularly in the text.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. As a history it was nice to have the centuries unfold and take time to digest each period.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is full of nuggets of information that I kept wanting to share. The scope is broad, and slightly less strong in the most recent centuries, but the first two thirds are riveting. The author treats the language as an almost living thing, evolving through periods of explosive growth, or responding to threats of extinction, taking us through all the unexpected twists in its development like a proud parent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr Dapper PORT HURON, MI, United States 05-01-12
    Mr Dapper PORT HURON, MI, United States 05-01-12 Member Since 2012

    I keep my self rather busy and love how a good book can unplug me from reality just enough to remember I'm alive.

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    "Great Read"
    What made the experience of listening to The Adventure of English the most enjoyable?

    I have never really liked the English language for more reasons than it was the only class I failed growing up. Though I love writing I just didn't appreciate it, and though I still find it lacking qualities that that other languages may have I love what it took to get it here. The adventure that English has taken to get to this point is rather amazing. The book is way better as an audio book due in part to the many different languages spoken throughout the book. But i do say that the visual aids given in the book are great companions as you listen. Best book for me thus far this year.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    the fight between French and English


    Which scene was your favorite?

    i really liked the sware words section. was very informitive.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara 04-16-12
    Barbara 04-16-12 Member Since 2012
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    "A real treat"
    What did you love best about The Adventure of English?

    The history of English is fascinating, but even better when narrated by someone who seems able to fluently read in all the different dialects. I am sure I would not have enjoyed this book reading it myself and struggling to attempt the various dialects, since I am not a student of those languages. Hearing the old languages spoken fluentlyadded another dimension to the experience.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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