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99 of 100 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a great read
If you are interested in the history of the English Language, word derivations and English generally I strongly recommend this book. I would have given it 5 stars but knocked one off because at times, especially in the first few chapters, Bragg can get a bit tedious. His writing style is very odd too. I'm not saying it's bad, just odd. It's as if he is slightly off-kilter...
Published on 12 Feb 2004 by groundhog

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Thorough but unenticing
The history of the English language is rich and complex but this book makes it seem slightly tedious. It does go through every stage of development (such as the Conquest, Chaucer, the Bible, Shakespeare, America etc) in detail but the print is small and, although there are pleasant but rather irrelevant photographs, the overall impression is a tad dull. I agree with the...
Published on 17 Aug 2012 by Doc Barbara


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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 19 April 2006
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Claudia (Milton Keynes, BUCKS United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
The Adventure of English, by Melvyn Bragg, is a fascinating biography of the English language (the author claims that English can be viewed as a living organism - thus the term biography instead of history - and, in much of the book, the language's development and quest for survival assumes "living behaviour"). I thoroughly enjoyed this piece of philological / linguistic history that spans over 1500 years, from the invasion of the British Isles by Germanic tribes in the 5th century to the emergence and spreading of many different "families" of English from the 17th century onwards.

The only flaw I found in it was the dismissive treatment given to my mother tongue: Portuguese. I think it should have been given as much importance as Spanish, French and German when other "universal" languages were addressed. A final offside remark: It's a pity that such a great book about language, written by a person who clearly loves words and understands the importance of their accuracy, refers to Brazil's (and South America's) bigest metropolis as São Paolo instead of São Paulo and claims that Portuguese and Spanish are "immediately mutually intelligible" !
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating - nearly excellent, 3 April 2008
This review is from: The Adventure of English (Paperback)
The evolution of our language is a fascinating story, well told by Melvyn Bragg.

My only very slight complaint is that it's obviously a book aimed at adults, and the squeamish ***ing of swear-words struck me as inappropriate. They're a part of our language like any other and their history deserves to be told without mollycoddling the reader.

(I don't like it when people complain about 'bad language' when it's used appropriately and in context, and I think it's the duty of the rest of us to complain when certain words are shied away from unnecessarily.)
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9 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Semi review, 3 Oct 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Adventure of English (Paperback)
I have just bought this book. I am only about 1/8 of the way through but I am so excited by it that I wanted to post a review (something I have never done before) anyway.
The only thing so far that lets it down is that some of Bragg's comparisons of the English language to events that have happened to England in the past 1500 years are slightly too romantic for my personal taste, although perfectly viable.
Anyway I don't want to say too much about it. Go and read it!
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0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great book, horrible format., 12 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Why was it thought necessary to change a medium that has survived for hundreds of years in a perfect format in a slavish obeisance to technolgy
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The Adventure of English
The Adventure of English by Melvyn Bragg (Paperback - 1 Sep 2004)
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