The Mother Tongue - English & How It Got That Way

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9780965316590: The Mother Tongue - English & How It Got That Way

Bryson covers the entire history of language, from the first crude murmurings of Neanderthal man thirty thousand years ago to the explosion of English as a global language in this century. We learn why island, freight, and colonel are spelled in such patently unphonetic ways, and four has a u in it but forty does not. A couple of quotes: "Any language where the unassuming word 'fly' signifies an annoying insect, a means of travel, and a critical part of a gentleman's apparel is clearly asking to be mangled." "There are more students of English in China than there are people in the United States."

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Bill Bryson
Published by William Morrow (1990)
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Bryson, Bill
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