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9780380715435

The Mother Tongue - English And How It Got That Way

Bryson, Bill Author

9780380715435: The Mother Tongue - English And How It Got That Way

With dazzling wit and astonishing insight, Bill Bryson—the acclaimed author of The Lost Continent—brilliantly explores the remarkable history, eccentricities, resilience and sheer fun of the English language. From the first descent of the larynx into the throat (why you can talk but your dog can't), to the fine lost art of swearing, Bryson tells the fascinating, often uproarious story of an inadequate, second-rate tongue of peasants that developed into one of the world's largest growth industries.

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Who would have thought that a book about English would be so entertaining? Certainly not this grammar-allergic reviewer, but The Mother Tongue pulls it off admirably. Bill Bryson--a zealot--is the right man for the job. Who else could rhapsodize about "the colorless murmur of the schwa" with a straight face? It is his unflagging enthusiasm, seeping from between every sentence, that carries the book.

Bryson displays an encyclopedic knowledge of his topic, and this inevitably encourages a light tone; the more you know about a subject, the more absurd it becomes. No jokes are necessary, the facts do well enough by themselves, and Bryson supplies tens per page. As well as tossing off gems of fractured English (from a Japanese eraser: "This product will self-destruct in Mother Earth."), Bryson frequently takes time to compare the idiosyncratic tongue with other languages. Not only does this give a laugh (one word: Welsh), and always shed considerable light, it also makes the reader feel fortunate to speak English.

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Bryson, Bill Author
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Book Description William Morrow Paperbacks, 1990. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New. Bookseller Inventory # 112514131

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Book Description William Morrow Paperbacks, 1990. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: The author of the acclaimed The Lost Continent now steers us through the quirks and byways of the English language. We learn why island, freight, and colonel are spelled in such unphonetic ways, why four has a u in it but forty doesn't, plus bizarre and enlightening facts about some of the patriarchs of this peculiar language. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0380715430

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reissue. 201 x 135 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. With dazzling wit and astonishing insight, Bill Bryson--the acclaimed author of The Lost Continent--brilliantly explores the remarkable history, eccentricities, resilience and sheer fun of the English language. From the first descent of the larynx into the throat (why you can talk but your dog can t), to the fine lost art of swearing, Bryson tells the fascinating, often uproarious story of an inadequate, second-rate tongue of peasants that developed into one of the world s largest growth industries. Bookseller Inventory # KNV9780380715435

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Book Description WmMorrowPB. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0380715430 Provides a humorous history of the English language covering such topics as spelling, pronunciation, swearing, and wordplay. Bookseller Inventory # 4138019

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reissue. 201 x 135 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. With dazzling wit and astonishing insight, Bill Bryson--the acclaimed author of The Lost Continent--brilliantly explores the remarkable history, eccentricities, resilience and sheer fun of the English language. From the first descent of the larynx into the throat (why you can talk but your dog can t), to the fine lost art of swearing, Bryson tells the fascinating, often uproarious story of an inadequate, second-rate tongue of peasants that developed into one of the world s largest growth industries. Bookseller Inventory # KNV9780380715435

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