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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.
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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 (2045 )
5 star
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4.1 (845 )
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4.2 (829 )
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Performance
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  •  
    06-19-10
    06-19-10 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
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    Overall
    "Very compelling"

    This is not your "dry" history book. The writer make the subject come alive. Additionally, I gained a better appreciation of the English language.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Waraksa 01-16-09 Listener Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sheds little light"

    Having listened to half of this title, I consider this a great disappointment. I was looking for some insight into how English developed and how language develops in general, but there was little insightful about that here. Just as an example, the great vowel shift, a great mystery in the history of English, is barely mentioned. I guess it would be interesting if you aren't interested in linguistics but only in a sketch of English history, but I had hoped for much more than that, given the title and reviews on this website.

    6 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kevin kohut 08-22-08
    kevin kohut 08-22-08 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "facinating - if you love words and their origens"

    Some of the word lists can be a bit tedious, but it's a small price to pay for the insight provided in this book. A couple of friends have gone through this at the same time and we both believe we are the richer fo having gone on this journey.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jkhbusiness2 Boston, MA, United States 09-24-11
    jkhbusiness2 Boston, MA, United States 09-24-11

    JoshBoston

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    "A little silly"

    This book has some interesting information, but it is buried deep inside flights of fancy and purple prose. Bragg is very serious in calling this a "biography": English is treated as a living, breathing thing with wills and desires. The bulk of the book is taken up with speculations about how English might have felt about this, or what she might have been thinking when deciding to do that. I don't mind a little flowery prose now and then, but it got pretty tiresome. Chop that out, and the book would have only been an hour or so long.

    The reader was entertaining, though. I have no idea how good his pronunciation of Old English or Church Latin actually is, but is certainly sounded credible.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Bristol, CT, United States 07-29-11
    Carol Bristol, CT, United States 07-29-11
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    1
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    "Major snooze-fest!"

    I lasted about six minutes: halfway through a numbered list of the top 100 English words rooted in Friesen. Truely awful.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristine Hibbing, MN, USA 01-03-10
    Kristine Hibbing, MN, USA 01-03-10 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great, until he started on the Catholic-Bashing"

    I found this book entertaining - until the author launched into full-fledged Catholic bashing. Wyclif and the Lollards heroes? OH PUH-LEEZE! Come up with something new, will you please?

    3 of 16 people found this review helpful

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