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Art of swearing Bryson tells the fascinating often uproarious story of an inadeuate second rate tongue of peasants that developed into one of the world's largest growth industries. 1 DNFI thought this would be fun I love words and languages and have a passing interest in linguistics I started this with enthusiasm and was enjoying his breezy style until it occurred to me that a lot of what he was saying seemed to be anecdotal You know limited or no research Then I thought well it was written than 25 years ago so things that sounded like old stories to me may have been new stories then like this one The Eskimos as is well known have fifty words for types of snow though curiously no word for just plain snow To them there is crunchy snow soft snow fresh snow and old snow but no word that just means snow There s a wealth of articles about this half truth I m being generous Here s one how many grains of salt would I need to swallow the declaration that immediately followed An unhealthy amount I m sure The Italians as we might expect have over 500 names for different types of macaroni He goes on to say these include spaghetti and vermicelli He obviously means types of pastaThen he got into some languages I have a smattering of myself French and German and I began uestioning Some of it just sounded wrong like the uote from an article that says most speakers of other languages aren t aware there is such a thing as a thesaurusAt this point I decided I d read some reviews to see if anyone who knows than I do felt the same way Sadly there are a lot You can check the low rating reviews on that actually discuss the many factual errors I stopped reading thinking I might accidentally absorb some of the facts and perpetuate them myselfHow disappointing One star for the writing

Download ´ PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free ¿ Bill Bryson

The Mother Tongue English and How It Got That Way

S resilience and sheer fun of the English language From the first descent of the larynx into the throat why you can The Mother eBook #221 talk but your dog can't to the fine lost. I know exactly a little bit about English and a little bit less about linguistics in general Studied a few foreign languages took a linguistics class or two in college I m what you might call a big fan of language A dabbler Certainly not an expert But boy did I find this book infuriatingMy problem with this book is that it gets so much right and so much wrong The example that really set me off was his treatment of the Welsh language To Bryson Welsh is as unpronounceable as it looks and Welsh pronunciations rarely bear much relation to their spellings He then spouts off with a series of jokes that are so ethnocentric and condescending that if you took them at face value you couldn t help but feel sorry for the poor backward speakers of silly old WelshThe problem is he s completely wrong I happened to study the phonology and orthography of Welsh for about a week in that freshman linguistics class I know that makes me a big authority right but in that week I learned something Bryson apparently never bothered to look up Welsh orthography is remarkably regular about as regular as Spanish It s not at all difficult if you bother to learn the rules which are far simpler than those of English The fact that I learned them in one week and remember them decades later should be some indication of how easy they are The phoneme represented by the double l is called a lateral fricative and yes it s hard to pronounce if you don t speak Welsh but that does not mean it s sometimes pronounced kl and other times thl as Bryson suggests It is always pronounced just like it s spelled But Bryson s Anglo American tin ear failed to pick that up and he took his ignorance and turned it into a cheap joke at another culture s expenseKnowing that he got Welsh so wrong made me doubt all of the rest of the information in the book And that s a real shame because it covers such fascinating topics and it s so very entertainingly written But it s hard to enjoy Bryson s jokes when you have this nagging suspicion that he s bending the truth for the sake of a snappy punchline

Bill Bryson ¿ 5 Free read

With dazzling Tongue English ePUB #180 wit and astonishing insight Bill Bryson the acclaimed author of The Lost Continent brilliantly explores the remarkable history eccentricitie. The Mother Tongue is the story of the evolution of the English language from its humble beginnings as a Germanic tongue to what it has evolved into over the centuriesSo Bill Bryson cheap euals insta buy for me apparently Too bad even Bill Bryson couldn t make this terribly entertainingI have a long history as the obscure facts guy at social gatherings at least I did when people still invited me to such things However even I had trouble sticking with this one at timesOld Bill is in fine form cracking wise and still being informative at every opportunity He didn t get much in the way of interesting material to work with in this caseThe book was not without its moments however I did enjoy the chapter on swearing as well as numerous tidbits or titbits as they were called in a less prudish era that peppered the other chapters Too bad the gems were scarce and some of the reading resembled the back breaking labor involved in miningWhile I found the book informative and mildly amusing at the end of the day it s still a book about the history of words Even one of the funnier travel writers alive can t make chicken salad from chicken feathers in this case 25 out of 5


10 thoughts on “The Mother Tongue English and How It Got That Way

  1. says:

    I have to share my discontent with the world after keeping the words bottled up inside me for so longI bought this book about two or three years ago thinking it might be an entertaining read that might fill me in on some of the historical aspects of the English language I had already read A Short History Of Nearly Everything and knowing nothing about science thought it was a rather entertaining read even tho

  2. says:

    The one thing that bothered me the most about this book was a huge error it had on swearwords in reference to my mother tongue Finnish p 210 Ch Swearing in my Penguin paperback “Some cultures don’t swear at all The Finns lacking the sort of words you need to describe your feelings when you stub your toe getting up to answer a phone at 20

  3. says:

    The Mother Tongue is the story of the evolution of the English language from its humble beginnings as a Germanic tongue to what it has evolved into over the centuriesSo Bill Bryson cheap euals insta buy for me apparently Too bad even Bill Bryson couldn't make this terribly entertainingI have a long history as the obscure facts guy a

  4. says:

    I gave this book 4 stars for an enjoyable reading experience But if I'm being honest I'm not entirely sure how accurate it is The idea of this being credible nonfiction came to a bit of screeching halt for me when Bryson described Pennsylvania Dutch as an English dialect He seems to have confused the broken English many older Amish and Mennonite speak expressions like make open the door with the separate language of Pennsylvania Dutch wh

  5. says:

    I know exactly a little bit about English and a little bit less about linguistics in general Studied a few foreign languages took a linguistics class or two in college I'm what you might call a big fan of language A dabbler Certainly not an expert But boy did I find this book infuriatingMy problem with this book is that it gets so much right and so much wrong The example that really set me off was his treatment of the Welsh lan

  6. says:

    Ever since I learned to read English has been my favourite language I took to it like a duck takes to water at least I guess they take to it willingly and that baby ducks are not paddled until their feathers fly by Mamma Duck to make them This was the cause of the eternal chagrin of my mother who being a staunch nationalis

  7. says:

    Non fiction Published in 1990 this book is already a little out of date In its first pages Bryson reports OED editor Robert Burchfield's theory that American English and British English are drifting apart so rapidly that within two hundred years we won't be able to understand each other That was a theory made back when cell phones still reuired a battery the size of an unabridged dictionary long before the internet became such a large part

  8. says:

    1★ DNFI thought this would be fun I love words and languages and have a passing interest in linguistics I started this with enthusiasm and was enjoying his breezy style until it occurred to me that a lot of what he was saying seemed to be anecdotal You know limited or no research Then I thought well it was written than 25 years ago so things that sounded like old stories to me may have been new stories then – like t

  9. says:

    What a hilarious fascinating and educational look at our wacky wonderful and WAY complicated language If English is your m

  10. says:

    I teach English as a foreign language but other than that linguistics and language learning is just a hobby having said that I know enough Irish German Czech Russian and Spanish to know that the things he said about these languages are half truths or complete and utter codswallop For example claiming that the German prep

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