"Everything, it seems, is interesting to Bill Bryson. The marvel is that he can make it all interesting to us....Bryson's book, Mother Tongue...is the one that convinced me he could probably write informatively and with humor about anything. I mean, who ever heard of a Linguistics study with laughs on every page?" Dave Weich, Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
With dazzling wit and astonishing insight, Bill Bryson—the acclaimed author of The Lost Continent—brilliantly explores the remarkable history, eccentricities, resilience and sheer fun of the English language. From the first descent of the larynx into the throat (why you can talk but your dog can't), to the fine lost art of swearing, Bryson tells the fascinating, often uproarious story of an inadequate, second-rate tongue of peasants that developed into one of the world's largest growth industries.
"Vastly informative and vastly entertaining....A scholarly and fascinating book." Fred S. Holley, Los Angeles Times
"Complex and maddeningly illogical though it is, English is spoken by more than 300 million people around the world....Its story has been told before, but seldom as deftly or as memorably....An enthralling excursion....A motherlode of delectable trivia." Burt Hochburg, The New York Times Book Review
The author of the acclaimed The Lost Continent now steers us through the quirks and byways of the English language. We learn why island, freight, and colonel are spelled in such unphonetic ways, why four has a u in it but forty doesn't, plus bizarre and enlightening facts about some of the patriarchs of this peculiar language.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 247-255) and index.
About the Author
Bill Bryson is the New York Times bestselling author of A Walk in the Woods, The Lost Continent, The Mother Tongue, Neither Here Nor There, Made in America, Notes from a Small Island, Notes from a Big Country, Down Under, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, Shakespeare: The World as Stage, At Home, and A Short History of Nearly Everything, which was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize, won the Aventis Prize for Science Books, and was awarded the Descartes Science Communication Prize. Born in Des Moines, Iowa, Bryson now lives in Norfolk, England, with his wife and four children.