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Mother Tongue - Bill Bryson – 1990

"The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got That Way" is a book by Bill Bryson which wittily compiles the history and origins of the English language and the language's various quirks. Subtitled English And How It Got That Way. The book discusses the Indo-European origins of English, the growing status of English as a global language, the complex etymology of English words, the dialects of English, spelling reform, prescriptive grammar, and more minor topics including swearing. Bryson's account is a popularization of the subject, designed to entertain as well as to inform, and the book is sprinkled with trivia and language lore.
I like Bill Bryson's travel books. He has also written a few about language and they are just as good and funny. Having learned English as a foreign language myself, I found a lot of information, though I am sure anybody with English as a mother tongue might find it even more interesting.

 

I started this thread before the crash but it has disappeared.

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I LOVED this book, it is one that you cannot just read, you feel the need to share his ideas with others and so I always felt obliged to read out paragraphs to my other half who was reading as well.

 

This was very irritating no doubt, but this is a book that should not be kept to yourself, it needs to be shared and passed along - fascinating, informative, funny and full of useless, but very interesting, facts.

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True, there are so many funny and interesting story, you just can't keep them for yourself.

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I don't think Mr Bryson has ever written a duff book - and there are very few writers you can say that about.

 

I particularly like his encyclopaedia and A Walk in the Woods but it would be hard to single out a favourite.

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