Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way

Posted by nliakos on August 13, 2010

by Bill Bryson. Perennial 1990.

Reading this book was like reviewing my History of the English Language course in graduate school (but funnier).   Bryson covers it all: vocabulary, pronunciation, spelling, English as a world language, English names, swearing, wordplay…. &c.  Although I found some errors (such as Elliniki Dimokratia becoming Ellinki Dimokratia, and claiming Pennsylvania Dutch is a dialect of English) which make me distrust other facts I can’t check, it was a fascinating trip through the history of English, with lots of fun facts for the lover of language. Bryson can make pretty much anything laugh-out-loud funny, and this book is no exception.

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