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The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got that Way by [Bill Bryson]
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The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got that Way Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 2,461 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bill Bryson is the New York Times bestselling author of At Home, A Walk in the Woods, The Lost Continent, Made in America,The Mother Tongue, A Short History of Nearly Everything -- winner of the Aventis Prize -- and various other works. Born in Des Moines, Iowa, he now lives in England with his wife and children. --This text refers to the audioCD edition.

Amazon.com Review

Who would have thought that a book about English would be so entertaining? Certainly not this grammar-allergic reviewer, but The Mother Tongue pulls it off admirably. Bill Bryson--a zealot--is the right man for the job. Who else could rhapsodize about "the colorless murmur of the schwa" with a straight face? It is his unflagging enthusiasm, seeping from between every sentence, that carries the book.

Bryson displays an encyclopedic knowledge of his topic, and this inevitably encourages a light tone; the more you know about a subject, the more absurd it becomes. No jokes are necessary, the facts do well enough by themselves, and Bryson supplies tens per page. As well as tossing off gems of fractured English (from a Japanese eraser: "This product will self-destruct in Mother Earth."), Bryson frequently takes time to compare the idiosyncratic tongue with other languages. Not only does this give a laugh (one word: Welsh), and always shed considerable light, it also makes the reader feel fortunate to speak English. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Product details

  • ASIN : B00T3DR56C
  • Publisher : William Morrow Paperbacks; Reissue edition (June 2, 2015)
  • Publication date : June 2, 2015
  • Language : English
  • File size : 918 KB
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Enabled
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 274 pages
  • Lending : Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 2,461 ratings

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
2,461 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on July 30, 2017
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232 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on April 16, 2019
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53 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on January 1, 2017
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91 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on April 24, 2017
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Top reviews from other countries

Ian Thomson
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what I expected.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 7, 2019
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59 people found this helpful
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S. Robinson
1.0 out of 5 stars Not classic Bryson
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 14, 2019
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38 people found this helpful
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Georgios Mistriotis
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed as the lack of proper research is evident!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 6, 2020
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21 people found this helpful
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E Griffith
2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 17, 2019
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18 people found this helpful
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Mr. Othniel Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Witty, learned, unreliable...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 16, 2019
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8 people found this helpful
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