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The Mother Tongue (1990)

di Bill Bryson

UtentiRecensioniPopolaritàMedia votiCitazioni
6,8191311,026 (3.86)215
With dazzling wit and astonishing insight, Bill Bryson--the acclaimed author of The Lost Continent--brilliantly explores the remarkable history, eccentricities, resilience and sheer fun of the English language. From the first descent of the larynx into the throat (why you can talk but your dog can't), to the fine lost art of swearing, Bryson tells the fascinating, often uproarious story of an inadequate, second-rate tongue of peasants that developed into one of the world's largest growth industries.… (altro)
Aggiunto di recente dabiblioteca privata, Robbie350, ejmw, kinofile, Tanner.beth.68, steppenfloyd, MWFreeman, Buchvogel
  1. 30
    The Adventure of English: The Life Story of a Remarkable Language di Melvyn Bragg (John_Vaughan)
  2. 20
    A History of the English Language di Albert C. Baugh (Mrs.Stansbury)
    Mrs.Stansbury: This is an academic version of 'Mother Tongue' this one covers about 85% of the same material but in much greater detail and depth. The maps and charts are fantastic.
  3. 21
    ˆLa ‰storia del linguaggio di Mario Pei (jsoos)
    jsoos: A more general treatment, not limited to English
  4. 00
    The Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories di Merriam-Webster (VivienneR)
  5. 01
    Enciclopedia Cambridge delle scienze del linguaggio di David Crystal (kevinashley)
    kevinashley: Crystal's work is more scholarly in tone but he's an equally accessible writer - and more comprehensive and accurate. If English, rather than language in general, is your particular interest you may find his books on English more interesting (I haven't read those.)… (altro)
  6. 02
    Talk to the Hand : The Utter Bloody Rudeness of Everyday Life (or six good reasons to stay home and bolt the door) di Lynne Truss (mikeg2)
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» Vedi le 215 citazioni

Inglese (127)  Tedesco (1)  Olandese (1)  Svedese (1)  Danese (1)  Tutte le lingue (131)
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Bryson explores the history and quirks of the English Language. ( )
  addunn3 | Jan 20, 2021 |
If it were not for a note I made in this book that I bought it in 2004 and read it in 2004, I would not have known that I read this book. It looks okay, but it sure made no impression on me. ( )
  Chica3000 | Dec 11, 2020 |
I picked this up thinking that Bryson had, in my experience, always been entertaining, witty and informative and that this was a topic of much interest to me, so how could I go wrong?

Well, a sample of two is not enough to go on, apparently because this turned out disappointing, for two primary reasons:

1. It was first published in 1990 and it has not aged well. Some statistics are well out of date, Bryson using a figure of 56 million for the population of Britain, with 60 million more accurate at the time I write, for example. The political position has moved on, too.

2. Errors and inconsistencies. Some statements are just plain wrong. At one point Bryson says that the Irish Prime Minister's title sounds like "tea-sack" when rendered into phonetic English spelling. This is just incoorect; it is more like "tea-shock" even "tea-shop" if one was not listening attentively. Bryson says that the six Celtic languages arose from one predecessor called Celtic. Every other source I've read uses the term Brythonic for this extinct predecessor. It's possible that philologists have changed their terminology and don't use the term "Brythonic" any more (just as they don't call themselves philologists anymore) but even if that is so, later Bryson suggests that Welsh is a Gaelic language, which no authority is going to agree with.

As far as inconsistencies go, two stick with me: First Bryson tacitly identifies himself with Britain in the early part of the book, then later on as American...perhaps not surprising considering his Pond hoping tendencies. The second is worse; in the chapter on American accents and dialects he starts by agreeing that the USA shows less regional variation than britain and ends suggesting that there is, in fact, one dialect per person....

The effect of these two problems is to, one way or another, call into question the validity of just about everything expressed as a statement of fact, unless one already knows of an independent authority who agrees. This is most unfortunate, as the topic is fascinating and the writing is witty, though sometimes angry; English is also emotive!
( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
Classic Bryson: even academic subjects are a blast to read when his love of language and history are well seasoned with his humor and scepticism.
Must read for any English speaker. ( )
  Osbaldistone | May 9, 2020 |
I'm glad I read this book...even though it's dated. I enjoyed the chapter on word play, I learned some new words (which I'll soon forget) and had a few chuckles. However, I wouldn't recommend this book because the author makes some minor errors and even some fundamental ones, and then draws conclusions from these errors. Sorry, but I believe grammar matters because it enhances comprehension. Imply and infer cannot mean the same thing...ever . Null and void don't mean the same thing. Neither do beck and call. Or law and order. Or.... And we french speakers can distinguish between house and home.

I've read later works by Bill Bryson, which are better (I think) or are they as riddled with errors that I didn't notice? ( )
  LynnB | Mar 3, 2020 |
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To Cynthia
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More than 300 million people in the world speak English and the rest, it sometimes seems, try to.
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It appears that there is no canonical title, but two distinct titles. If the canoncial title field is left blank, LibraryThing will continue to use the democratic method for populating everyone’s ‘your books’ listing (and maybe elsewhere) with the most commonly used title on LibraryThing. On 20 Jan 2014 Bill Bryson’s home page showed two distinct editions, the UK edition and the US edition, with two distinct titles. It appears that the US edition was published first but not verified.

US edition - The Mother Tongue - English And How It Got That Way – 1 June 1990 (??)

UK edition - Mother Tongue: The Story of the English Language – 1 Oct 1990 (??)

A 1991 UK edition was titled Mother Tongue: The English Language
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With dazzling wit and astonishing insight, Bill Bryson--the acclaimed author of The Lost Continent--brilliantly explores the remarkable history, eccentricities, resilience and sheer fun of the English language. From the first descent of the larynx into the throat (why you can talk but your dog can't), to the fine lost art of swearing, Bryson tells the fascinating, often uproarious story of an inadequate, second-rate tongue of peasants that developed into one of the world's largest growth industries.

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Penguin Australia

2 edizioni di questo libro sono state pubblicate da Penguin Australia.

Edizioni: 0141037466, 0141040084

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