9780380715435

The Mother Tongue - English And How It Got That Way

Bryson, Bill

ISBN 10: 0380715430 / 0-380-71543-0
ISBN 13: 9780380715435
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: 1990
Binding: Softcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:
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.

Review:
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.

Review

Review:
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Book Description: HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reissue. 202 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 # ABZ9780380715435

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Book Description: HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reissue. 202 x 135 mm. 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 # ABZ9780380715435

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Book Description: Paperback. Book Condition: New. 135mm x 17mm x 202mm. Paperback. With dazzling wit and astonishing insight, Bill Bryson?the acclaimed author of "The Lost Continent"?brilliantly explores the remarkable history, eccentricities, resil.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 272 pages. 0.204. Bookseller Inventory # 9780380715435

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