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on 30 April 2015
This is not the first book I have read about the history of English but it is probably the best in its depth and breadth. Bragg has done a magnificent job in tying in both the early relatively linear history with the latter geographical explosion. I took this in first as an audiobook which really was a great way of experiencing the book especially as my knowledge of Anglo Saxon is just about zero and my ability to read Chaucer in the original Middle English not much better. But then I realised I really want to be able to use this book as a reference and to revisit for example the time trail of the language.
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on 3 September 2014
The Adventure of English traces the history and evolution of the English language, from its first arrival on English shores from old Frisia to modern days. It's premise is that English language's adaptability and ability to absorb words from other languages has made it a truly global language spoken by millions around the globe. Bragg traces through major influences on the language from the Norman occupation adding thousands of French words through to modern day English spoken in places like America, Australia and Singapore. Along the way he discusses the importance of key individuals who expanded the language and preserved it such as Chaucer, Shakespeare and Dr. Johnson. It's an easy reading book, written in the style of a biography, only about a language, not a person. There was nothing in the book that was truly groundbreaking but as someone who is fascinated with languages and has a somewhat pedantic attitude towards English, I found it a thought provoking and enjoyable read.
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on 13 October 2015
A fantastic read for anyone interested in the history and evolution of the English language. Despite it's diverse forays into foreign lands or the efforts of invaders to purify or standardise it, the English language remains one of the most widely spoken and creative of languages, melding as it does, so many different influences. Melvyn Bragg writes a wonderful book which kept me transfixed throughout.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 16 April 2012
This book is a very enjoyable tour of the development of the English language from its Germanic beginnings, through the absorption of thousands of words of French following the Norman conquest, through the adoption of place names and patronymics from Viking Norse, and its export to America and Australia.

Also described and celebrated here are the variations and modifications in language from regional dialects to text speak. I had never really known why English is so free of rules compared with most other languages - spellings, and pronunciation are so varied in English but so standardised in Spanish and French, for example. Bragg makes the answers clear in this book which is entertaining and informative.

Recommended
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on 29 September 2015
I am a big fan of the English language and have enjoyed reading this book several times now. This copy was bought as a gift for a friend and I'm sure she will enjoy it as much as I did. It is fascinating reading the history of our spoken language, how the influences from all our conquerors still show in the words we use today. I might have to read it again.
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on 14 January 2017
This is a really exciting book. Who knew that the development of the English language could be so much of a page-turner?! However much you think you know about the English language, you will learn so much more from this book.
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on 14 August 2017
A good history of the English language and all the inputs into it from other languages. More academic than Bill Bryson's Mother tongue but still an enjoyable read.
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on 13 August 2013
An excellent introduction for anyone who wonders why the English spell words like they do, why accents still exist between the regions, why the Welsh still speak their own tongue, and Scots do theirs too. Latin still sticks, and although the French want to keep "Franglish" out of France, they should look at the huge number of old French words still spoken as part of the English Language that is taught now around the world, including words we pinched from Germany, Norse, Dutch, Italian, Turkish, Greek, etc., etc., a hybrid language that is still evolving. Wonderful book. Now I am off to buy a better, bigger dictionary.
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on 6 January 2013
i was a bit wary of this book before i started it, it is melvyn bragg, and i thought it would be too high brow for me. however, he writes with such passion and charm and wit that i was really disappointed when i got to the end. i read the book in a couple of days, no washing up or ironing done, as i could not put it down. the story of the adventure of english is so fascinating and melvyn writes so well that i thoroughly recommend this book to everyone who reads or speaks english.
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on 15 June 2017
pleased with my purchase
2 people found this helpful
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