The Prodigal Tongue

The Love-Hate Relationship Between American and British English
Narrated by: Pam Ward
Length: 11 hrs and 38 mins
Categories: History, Americas
4.3 out of 5 stars (48 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"If Shakespeare were alive today, he'd sound like an American."

"English accents are the sexiest."

"Americans have ruined the English language."

"Technology means everyone will have to speak the same English."

Such claims about the English language are often repeated but rarely examined. Professor Lynne Murphy is on the linguistic front line. In The Prodigal Tongue she explores the fiction and reality of the special relationship between British and American English. By examining the causes and symptoms of American Verbal Inferiority Complex and its flipside, British Verbal Superiority Complex, Murphy unravels the prejudices, stereotypes, and insecurities that shape our attitudes to our own language.

With great humo(u)r and new insights, Lynne Murphy looks at the social, political, and linguistic forces that have driven American and British English in different directions: how Americans got from centre to center, why British accents are growing away from American ones, and what different things we mean when we say estate, frown, or middle class. Is anyone winning this war of the words? Will Yanks and Brits ever really understand each other?

©2018 M. Lynne Murphy (P)2018 Tantor

What listeners say about The Prodigal Tongue

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

University textbook

Very enthralling and entertaining! really enjoyed the speaker and the content. Feel rather prepared for my university class now!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

TOO MUCH BITTERNESS

Honestly. I live in the US. I LOVE american english. But after half an hour of embittered whining about how much the Brits hate it and are scared by it, I gave up. I wanted to know more about two wonderful ways of speaking English. I didn't sign up for listening to ten minutes of grievances for every minute of content actually dealing with the advertised topic.

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excellent!

I enjoyed this a great deal. As an English teacher raised in England, but teaching in the USA, this book helped me find myself, my accent, my voice, and my words.

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Fun and Interesting

Lynn Murphy’s at times serious, at times humorous look at the language I thought I knew kept me wanting to learn more. This, thankfully, is not an academic treatise, but a wry full body scan of our sames and differences.