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Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English


Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A survey of the quirks and quandaries of the English language, focusing on our strange and wonderful grammar

Why do we say “I am reading a catalog” instead of “I read a catalog”? Why do we say “do” at all? Is the way we speak a reflection of our cultural values? Delving into these provocative topics and more, Our Magnificent Bastard Language distills hundreds of years of fascinating lore into one lively history.

Covering such turning points as the little-known Celtic and Welsh influences on English, the impact of the Viking raids and the Norman Conquest, and the Germanic invasions that started it all during the fifth century ad, John McWhorter narrates this colorful evolution with vigor. Drawing on revolutionary genetic and linguistic research as well as a cache of remarkable trivia about the origins of English words and syntax patterns, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue ultimately demonstrates the arbitrary, maddening nature of English— and its ironic simplicity due to its role as a streamlined lingua franca during the early formation of Britain. This is the book that language aficionados worldwide have been waiting for (and no, its not a sin to end a sentence with a preposition).

About the Author

John McWhorter is the author of The Power of Babel and numerous other acclaimed books. A senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor to The New Republic, he has taught linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley and has been widely profiled in the media.

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Andy the G, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Andy the G)
This book covers the most likely reasons that the English language is so different from the Romance and the more commonly spoken European languages. The author does cover alternative reasons for the language origins and provides cogent arguments against them. It is written to make for riveting reading.
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Product Details

Mcwhorter, John
Gotham Books
McWhorter, John
Linguistics - Etymology
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 12
7.22x5.02x.68 in. .38 lbs.
Age Level:

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Anthropology » Linguistics
History and Social Science » Linguistics » English Linguistics and Dialects
History and Social Science » Linguistics » General
History and Social Science » Sale Books
Reference » Etymology

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English New Trade Paper
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