The Mother Tongue

Bryson, Bill

9780380715435

ISBN 10: 0380715430 / 0-380-71543-0
ISBN 13: 9780380715435
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: 1996
Binding: Softcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:
How did English, 'treated for centuries as the inadequate and second-rate tongue of peasants' become the undisputed global language? How did words like shampoo, sofa and rowdy (and others drawn from over fifty languages) find their way into our dictionary? In this revealing and often hilarious book, Bill Bryson examines the mother tongue and explores the countless varieties of English and the perils of marketing brands with names like Pschitt and Super Piss. With entertaining sections on the oddities of swearing and spelling, spoonerisms and Scrabble, and a consideration of what we mean by 'good English', Mother Tongue is one of the most stimulating books yet written on this endlessly engrossing subject.

Review:
Who would have thought that a book about the English language 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 rhapsodise about "the colourless 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:
'Not only fascinating but extremely funny' - Angus Deayton 'The sort of linguistics I like, anecdotal, full of revelations, and with not one dull paragraph' - Ruth Rendell, Sunday Times 'A gold mine of language-anecdote, information, curiosity. A suprise on every page... enthralling' Observer 'Delightful, amusing and provoking... A joyful celebration of our wonderful language, which is packed with curiosities and enlightenment on every page' Sunday Express 'A delightful survey - though with its good humour, wealth of anecdote, and boyish enthusiasm, "romp" would be a better word.' - David Crystal

Review

Editorial reviews may belong to another edition of this title.
 

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The Mother Tongue - English And How It Got That Way (ISBN: 0380715430 / 0-380-71543-0)
Bryson, Bill
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The Mother Tongue (ISBN: 9780380715435)
Bryson, Bill
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Bryson, Bill
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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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Bryson, Bill
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The Mother Tongue - English And How It Got That Way (ISBN: 0380715430 / 0-380-71543-0)
Bryson, Bill
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The Mother Tongue (Paperback) (ISBN: 9780380715435)
Bryson, Bill
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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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The Mother Tongue - English And How It Got That Way (ISBN: 0380715430 / 0-380-71543-0)
Bryson, Bill
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ISBN 13: 9780380715435
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Book Description: William Morrow Paperbacks. 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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Bryson, Bill
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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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Bryson, Bill
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