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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'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 CrystalSee all Product Description
I am only one third through this book but am finding it most interesting. I am a linguistics graduate student so maybe that is why it appeals to me.Published 11 hours ago by Di McA
Interesting information. Not as amusing as some of his other books but it is factual rather than autobiographicalPublished 13 hours ago by Pam G S
Although brilliantly researched and written in an engaging and humorous manner, the subject matter became a little tedious after a while. Read morePublished 15 hours ago by Ray Elder
Bill Bryson is one of those out of the box thinkers that can make complex issues sound easy - and entertaining at the same time. Read morePublished 2 days ago by John
It just doesn't bounce along. Frankly it is a bit heavy, turgid even.Published 2 days ago by Dr. Timothy Pallett
Great book, so much information. He makes it so interesting. Have a hard copy but wanted it on my kindle to refer back to.Published 3 days ago by Globetrotter