We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language | [Melvyn Bragg]

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.
Regular Price:$26.30
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

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 (2044 )
5 star
 (843)
4 star
 (675)
3 star
 (330)
2 star
 (117)
1 star
 (79)
Overall
4.1 (844 )
5 star
 (373)
4 star
 (275)
3 star
 (128)
2 star
 (42)
1 star
 (26)
Story
4.2 (828 )
5 star
 (422)
4 star
 (239)
3 star
 (109)
2 star
 (41)
1 star
 (17)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Michael Phoenix, AZ, United States 01-22-11
    Michael Phoenix, AZ, United States 01-22-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "A linguistic delight!"

    This is the first audiobook that I will listen to again. The narrator, Robert Powell, has an amazing gift for correct linguistic pronunciation that covers a wide spectrum of contributory languages that form our present language. As a lifelong student of language, I found this book to be an extraordinary treat! Were it possible, I would give a higher rating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janna Lansdale, PA, United States 12-27-10
    Janna Lansdale, PA, United States 12-27-10 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    63
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    155
    52
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    9
    0
    Overall
    "surprisingly engaging"

    I am no linguist, just a person with a curious interest in history and odd facts. This book satiates my appetite for both. It personifies "English" into a sortof person, striving to survive the ages, despite a wild attack on it from all sides at every turn. I love the way the author has created suspense throughout, as though we don't know whether it will survive in the end or not! And what a great review of history, putting it all in perspective with how English fared at each time period.

    I enjoy the reader's voice, and his pronunciations are quite amazing and necessarily good for the understanding of the book. I don't think I would have nearly as much understanding were it not for this, so I am glad to have the audiobook instead of the printed version.

    While not being a murder mystery or suspense thriller, this book is surprisingly engaging. Enjoy!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ellen M. Lind Hillsboro, OR United States 12-21-10
    Ellen M. Lind Hillsboro, OR United States 12-21-10 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    196
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Not an original concept"

    Start with Bill Bryson???s 1990 gem ???The Mother Tongue???; remove Bryson???s trademark humor and substitute a scholarly tone; use many of the same sources and examples, but drop some and expand some others; include a few (but surprising few) examples from the dozen years between the two publication dates. There you have Bragg???s The Adventure of English. It was good, it was interesting, but it wasn???t original.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Bennett 12-19-10
    D. Bennett 12-19-10 Listener Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    18
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Engaging but long winded"

    This book gives an approachable survey of the evolution of English. I learned many things, such as the strong influence of French on English via the Norman Conquest. The author speaks from a British perspective. If you are not familiar with, say, the Battle of Hastings, you may want to consult Wikipedia as you go along.

    I grew bored during the second half of the book, and felt I had to slog to the finish line. This may be because, as the author moves forward in time, the history becomes more familiar. While it was interesting to learn about the language of the Wild West cowboys, I found this part less engaging because I already knew about them.

    The book could say as much as it does in about 2/3 of the space. The periodic rhapsodies to the power of English can wear thin after a while. Nonetheless, I don't regret reading it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    reball01 12-09-10
    reball01 12-09-10

    I listen while driving. When I review, I'm much more apt to discuss the performance than the content. Sometimes, a bit of both.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    52
    23
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Well written, well read!"

    Good recording! Probably one of those books best enjoyed audibly rather than in writing. Robert Powell does well with various accents and inflections. If you love languages and English in particular then this will be quite a treat!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ronald CORTEZ, FL, United States 11-28-10
    Ronald CORTEZ, FL, United States 11-28-10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    "Fascinating"

    The English language, languages and the derivation and evolution of words have always intrigued me, so as a sort of closet linguist I just want to say how much I am enjoying this audio book, it is just fascinating and offers up an incredible wealth of information on the durable and ever evolving English language and it's history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Encinitas, CA, United States 10-15-10
    Andrew Encinitas, CA, United States 10-15-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    65
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    26
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    "Great book; wonderful narration"

    Filled with great history of the English language with etymology that is fun, educational and inspired. The voice of Robert Powell brings the words to life and makes the audio version of this book phenomenal.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Betty A. Wright Sugar City, ID United States 10-12-10
    Betty A. Wright Sugar City, ID United States 10-12-10 Member Since 2008

    pony rider

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    57
    17
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "fun and informative"

    I found this book very interesting. I appreciate the narrator being able to pronounce the Olde English and other foreign words. Interesting stories explaining or illustrating concepts. I recommend this book much more as an audio read than a visual one!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    fred greensboro nc 09-23-10
    fred greensboro nc 09-23-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    125
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    139
    89
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    "I have a high tolerance but this one beat me"

    I have a high tolerance for dry subjects but this one was a little too dry for me. Might be the wrong format. Might be the wrong subject. Just a little too serious for me.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Halifax, NS, Canada 09-12-10
    David Halifax, NS, Canada 09-12-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    334
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    65
    62
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    13
    0
    Overall
    "Unoriginal but well read"

    In some ways I found this an unnecessary book - it doesn't do anything that wasn't already done in Robert McCrum's "The Story of English" or Bill Bryson's "Mother Tongue". Having read those books, I didn't feel that I learned anything new. However, it was a pleasure to experience a book on this subject in audio format - Robert Powell is a brilliant narrator and does a superb job of reading Old English and the numerous accents required of him (only Uncle Remus seems to defeat him - the result is very awkward). If you've never read a book on this subject, this will be a fascinating experience. Even if you have, it might be worthwhile for Powell's narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.