Read Books This will provide a list of the books I've read with a brief review. Users are blocked, contact me for access. I welcome discussions, but I'm tired of spam.

February 23, 2011

The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson

Filed under: History — Randolph @ 8:16 pm

The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson is a wealth of information on the English language.  In this book, he describes the origin of our language and traces its evolution through interactions with different cultures.  It can be fascinating how he describes the relationship between neighboring villages and their particular dialects, or how French and Anglic terms evolved for the same words.

However, I didn’t feel there was really enough information for a full book.  When Bill Bryson gets into details of particular words, rather than give a few examples of their changes, he will continue for 20 or 30.  At times it felt as if his editor were pushing him to expand a magazine article into a full book.

By the end of the book, I felt as if I had read everything.  New information came slowly and the majority of the text was lists of words and interesting facts.  I think it would have been more suited to an etymological dictionary.  Mix in a number of errors and I cannot recommend this book.

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