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Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of Englishby John Mcwhorter
Synopses & Reviews
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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