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Mother Tongue: The English Language

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Mother Tongue

The English Language

By Bill Bryson

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Format: Paperback, 288 pages
Published In: United Kingdom, 01 September 2008
Bill Bryson's Mother Tongue is a hymn to the English language. In examining how a second-rate, mongrel tongue came to be the undisputed language of the globe, Bryson explores English from America to Australia and looks at, among other things, swearing, spelling, spoonerisms and Scrabble. No self-respecting English speaker should open his mouth without reading it.

About the Author

Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, and grew up there, but has spent most of his adult life in Britain. He has worked for a number of newspapers, including The Times and the Independent. His books on the English language include Mother Tongue and Troublesome Words, both published by Penguin. Bill Bryson is the author of several bestsellers including The Lost Continent, Neither Here Nor There, Notes from a Small Island, A Walk in the Woods, Notes from a Big Country, Down Under, A Short History of Nearly Everything, One Summer: America 1927 and his memoir, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. His most recent bestseller is The Road to Little Dribbling.

EAN: 9780141037462
ISBN: 0141037466
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Dimensions: 18.1 x 11.1 centimetres (0.10 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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3 review(s)
All Reviews
Richard on
Great book. Well written and full of interesting facts to think about.
Murray on
In "Mother Tongue" makes what could be a dull subject, and informative and entertaining read (as he does with his two other instructive books, "A Short History of Nearly Everything" and "Shakespeare". "Mother Tongue" is about the origins of language in general, and of the English language in particular. English is, after all, what most of us use to communicate on both interpersonal and international levels. Bryson shows how English is a real melting pot of other languages, both those still in use and others that have long become extinct. He looks at how, despite its unpromising beginnings, English has become the world's most popular language - despite its quirky nature. Where words come from, varieties of spelling, good English and bad, swearing, and wordplay are all covered in an easily read, informative, and frequently humorous way.
The fact that you are reading this probably means that English is the language you grew up with, use every waking minute - and probably give little thought to. "Mother Tongue" will give you a new appreciation of how lucky you are to speak English, and how many of the world's millions wish they did!
Thoroughly recommended.
Na on
This is an interesting book about the history of the English language - how it developed the way it did, what it's like compared to other languages, word origins etc. It has some funny anecdotal information about the language, and is written in a humour style, to be accessible to most people. To be honest i found it a bit dry in some parts but as somebody interested in languages, I thought it was good.

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