Book Reviews

The Adventure Of English by Melvyn Bragg

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List Price: £14.99


Paperback: 384 Pages.

Published: 02 June 2016 by Sceptre

ISBN: 1473639069

EAN: 9781473639065

English is the collective work of millions of people throughout the ages. It is democratic, ever-changing and ingenious in its assimilation of other cultures. English runs through the heart of world finance, medicine and the Internet, and it is understood by around two thousand million people across the world. Yet it was very nearly wiped out in its early years.

In this book Melvyn Bragg shows us the remarkable story of the English language; from its beginnings as a minor guttural Germanic dialect to its position today as a truly established global language. THE ADVENTURE OF ENGLISH is not only an enthralling story of power, religion and trade, but also the story of people, and how their day-to-day lives shaped and continue to change the extraordinary language that is English.


3.0 Stars3.0 Stars3.0 Stars  by Anne

Maybe too comprehensive

I love books about language and its history and I like Melvyn Bragg on the radio so I thought that this book woudl be an excellent read. It is certainly informative as we are guided through the history of the English language and how it has changed in relation to other languages. We see how it became the main language in England supplanting Latin and French and then how it moved abroad adapting to other societies. We also see the influence of other languages on English and are told how it became important in America and how the two strands of English began to move apart. The subject matter is comprehensive and interesting and there is a wealth of detail but I have to confess that at times I found it dull.

The problem seems to me that it was just so detailed. When describing any shift in language the author gives us list of examples which go on to half a page or so and which resulted in me skimming over things which might have been of interest. There was just too much here for a general reader, which I am, and the book as a whole covered a lot of ground in a lot of depth. It could have done with concentrating on fewer topics and maybe more context and conversational background.

I don't want you to think this is a bad book because it isn't. I just found that it took a lot of wading through and I found it easier to put down than pick up. If you do have any interest in any aspect of the English language, however, this book will have some subject matter which may be of interest.

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