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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
21
4.3 out of 5 stars


on 11 September 2017
an interesting read
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on 4 March 2012
I'm not quite sure why Philip Gooden decided to call his book "The Story Of English" when there is already an excellent book by Robert McCrum of the same title, linked to a TV series from around 25 years ago. That being said, this book is a useful addition to the canon on language history. Gooden simplifies matters by looking at the development of English under broad headings, corresponding to well known periods of European or British history. He is good on how spelling has changed over the years, how English has taken in many words from other languages, and how it is non-mother tongue countries that are now driving its development. I suggest that if you are interested in the subject you read this book, along with McCrum's, and Bill Bryson's "Mother Tongue".
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on 31 October 2013
this started out well, but in the middle did seem to loose its way
i was hoping to find out things like why new zealanders developed their accent, and the regional dialect changes in Britain but these were not really addressed
if anyone is interested there is a great podcast- thehistoryofenglish which goes into matters in much greater detail
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on 19 November 2011
I first borrowed this book from the library and soon realized what a wealth of interest it contained with mention of books, some familiar but others previously unknown to me. This will lead me to a study of books mentioned and also of current English usage. A friend who also read the book agreed it is a fascinating read.
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on 1 January 2015
Overall an enjoyable read but I think the title is somewhat misleading. I suspect the "how the English language conquered the world" was at the insistence of the editor as it's clearly an afterthought.

I echo the sentiment of another reviewer that it would have been interesting to explore the development/diversion of English in the former colonies in more detail. This of course would have changed the tone of the book. As it stands, far more emphasis is placed on the development of the English language as opposed to its ascension as a global language - hence my previous comment regarding the title.

Nevertheless an enjoyable read which is also easy to follow despite the inherent dullness of explaining grammatical quirks. No small feat!

Only additional comment is the structure is somewhat odd. The book flows reasonably well but by the end it almost feels as if these were autonomous chapters arbitrarily strung together. This is perhaps more a comment on the last chapter specifically. I felt it was oddly placed and ended so abruptly with no real commentary on the overall significance of what gooden was trying to say. Somewhat disappointing and reason for 3 stars as opposed to 4
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on 28 January 2014
I thought this started well, but the nod to 'celebrities' towards the end was irritating. David Crystal covers some of the same ground and I'd recommend his titles (Global English, for example) rather than this book.
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on 20 January 2014
Easy to read and entertaing.It gives all the influences on the English language and its developmentin a logical chronologial way. It also gives the modern changes that have taken place and the reasons why some have failed to catch on. I would recommend this book to all who love the English language
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on 26 January 2014
This book is a must for everyone who speaks the lingo. Philip
Gooden brings the whole story of English alive in an informative and amusing way, clearing up some of the myths and mysteries along the journey. My only concern is that I've gotten my grammar correct in this review. Lol!!!
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on 9 April 2014
I think you can rely on this book as a broad overview but when you read that Thomas Arnold was the headmaster of Rugby School and the author of Tom Brown's Schooldays you know you'd better not take bets about the smaller details.

Good value for £1.49 I would say.
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on 23 November 2013
Puts the history and probable future of the language clearly and succinctly. Instructive and amusing at the same time, this should be read by anyone with an interest in how and why we speak and write as we do.
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