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Publisher's Summary

English is the collective work of millions of people throughout the ages. It is democratic, ever-changing, and ingenious in its assimilation of other cultures. English runs through the heart of world finance, medicine, and the Internet, and it is understood by around 2.2 billion people across the world. Yet it was very nearly wiped out in its early years.

In this audiobook, Melvyn Bragg shows us 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. Embracing elements of Latin, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic, Hindi, and Gullah, this 1,500-year story covers a huge range of countries and peoples.

The Adventure of English is not only an enthralling story of power, religion, and trade, but also the story of people and how their day-to-day lives shaped and continue to change the extraordinary language that is English.

©2003 Melvyn Bragg; (P)2003 Hodder and Stoughton Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Compelling and charmingly personal." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • Debra
  • Mooroopna, VIC, Australia
  • 01-28-10

Educational

This fast paced commentary of how English developed over many centuries and became the international language we know and use today also gives the listener insight into the weirdly inconsistent spelling rules in our language, and how we have come to have such a broad vocabulary with its many shades of expression.

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  • Overall
  • Patricia
  • 08-08-09

Why didn't I enjoy it?

Fascinating subject, full of facts - so why didn't I enjoy it? I nearly didn't make it past the first chapter. Perhaps it's better read than listened to? The endless lists, for example. And too many examples per fact (yes we've got the point, thank you). Or maybe this book is of more interest to a non-native speaker and lover of English Language. I really don't know, but this is the most disappointing talking book for me so far.

  • Overall
  • Rogayah
  • 05-25-08

English in the making

If you enjoy the etymology of words then you will enjoy this book which gives the whens and why words came or were absorbed into 'English'. A product of its history, this book is a fasinating insight on the impact of invaders and settlers like the Romans, Vikings and especially the Normans and of England's neighbours like the Dutch, French and Germans.

Perhaps the only criticism is that Melvyn Bragg reads slightly too fast. Does he always talk as though he is pressed for time on a radio programme? Still it is an interesting tale well-told and worth the effort of listening closely.