DOC [The Mother Tongue English and How It Got That Way Bill Bryson] zen

  • Paperback
  • 270
  • The Mother Tongue English and How It Got That Way
  • Bill Bryson
  • English
  • 06 February 2020
  • 9780380715435

Bill Bryson ↠ 4 review

The Mother Tongue English and How It Got That Way review ð 104 With dazzling wit and astonishing insight Bill Bryson the acclaimed author of The Lost Continent brilliantly explores the remarkable history eccentricities resilie. I have to share my discontent with the world after keeping the words bottled up inside me for so longI bought this book about two or three years ago thinking it might be an entertaining read that might fill me in on some of the historical aspects of the English language I had already read A Short History Of Nearly Everything and knowing nothing about science thought it was a rather entertaining read even though I had some well doubts about the book since I tend to favour systematic and precise literature over a tapestry of facts with entertainment and jokes woven in I also believe this to be one of the few books I have on my Goodreads shelves worthy of one star onlyWhy Before I start let me tell you two things it has been a long time since I read the book so my memory may not be as fresh any The second thing I would like to mention is that I have some kind of idea about linguistics but am not a linguist where I am however a kind of expert is in the study of foreign languages I am therefore intimately acuainted with the workings of many foreign languages though almost all of them are European I have also rather extensively studied the historical connections between languages and their classification in language families and so onIt is painfully obvious that Bryson speaks no foreign languages Fine Neither does Chomsky and he knows a thing or two about linguistics You don t have to be a multilingual prodigy to study linguistics after all But I digressBryson makes the same mistake most monolingual speakers of any language make they think of their language as something uniue Bryson tries to justify the popularity of the English language not with historical or political arguments because I am sure that the colonization of a significant part of the world by the British Empire and the subseuent cultural and political hegemony of the United States had nothing to do with it nooo English is magic but rather seems to believe that English has through some kind of divine intervention been miraculously endowed with characteristics that have made it beat the other languages as if linguistics were some kind of free market economy where the best product gets the biggest share of the marketBryson then tries to argue the point with facts that are while true for the most part totally irrelevant Seriously this is like reading a paper by a student who s been watching one too many linguistic uiz shows on ITV if such a thing existed someone who likes to read trivia sections and then pieces together the information obtained therefrom and tries to pass it off as knowledge to people unfortunate enough to be ignorant than him One fact that makes the English language so great he says is that it has so many words than all the other languages How many words a language has Bill is not only something that cannot accurately be ascertained but also something that is completely irrelevant Why In brief language create composita in a different way for instance so where you might create a million different random words in German in other languages you have to link them together meaning you will have less dictionary hits Not that that has any bearing on the uality of the language Some languages even HAVE to make words because they have agglutinative ualities such as Hungarian and Turkish meaning they lump prefixes suffixes and other elements together creating big lump words Also English is the dominant language of science as such a lot of the scientific vocabulary is included in dictionaries Not that these words are usually English except for the newer sciences like computer science of course they often come from Latin or Ancient Greek anyway There are also dictionaries being produced in English on account of it being popular and the commercial production of English being viable As such its lexicography can be assumed to be advanced Word count is as irrelevant as the number of brain cells or the size of the brain with regards to intelligenceThis is my biggest beef with Bill s book At one point I had to stop reading I should read it again and reiterate some of the other numerous arguments Bill Bryson puts forward in favour of the English language I can only advise the author to commit himself to the study of foreign languages for a while and to understand that fun facts no matter how objectively true they are don t always have the meaning or significance someone thinks they have if one is not familiar with the field being discussed Unfortunately Bryson probably thought that he can easily trespass on this territory since everyone who is able to speak must be a linguist My review may sound harsh but this book definitely does harm than good And people should remember that fun fact books be they about natural sciences or linguistics do not represent knowledge I am sure that people endowed with a deeper understanding of natural science have shaken their head at A Short History Of Nearly Everything as well

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The Mother Tongue English and How It Got That Way review ð 104 Bryson tells the fascinating often uproarious story of an inadeuate second rate tongue of peasants that developed into one of the world's largest growth industrie. 1 DNFI thought this would be fun I love words and languages and have a passing interest in linguistics I started this with enthusiasm and was enjoying his breezy style until it occurred to me that a lot of what he was saying seemed to be anecdotal You know limited or no research Then I thought well it was written than 25 years ago so things that sounded like old stories to me may have been new stories then like this one The Eskimos as is well known have fifty words for types of snow though curiously no word for just plain snow To them there is crunchy snow soft snow fresh snow and old snow but no word that just means snow There s a wealth of articles about this half truth I m being generous Here s one how many grains of salt would I need to swallow the declaration that immediately followed An unhealthy amount I m sure The Italians as we might expect have over 500 names for different types of macaroni He goes on to say these include spaghetti and vermicelli He obviously means types of pastaThen he got into some languages I have a smattering of myself French and German and I began uestioning Some of it just sounded wrong like the uote from an article that says most speakers of other languages aren t aware there is such a thing as a thesaurusAt this point I decided I d read some reviews to see if anyone who knows than I do felt the same way Sadly there are a lot You can check the low rating reviews on that actually discuss the many factual errors I stopped reading thinking I might accidentally absorb some of the facts and perpetuate them myselfHow disappointing One star for the writing

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The Mother Tongue English and How It Got That Way review ð 104 Nce 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. I gave this book 4 stars for an enjoyable reading experience But if I m being honest I m not entirely sure how accurate it is The idea of this being credible nonfiction came to a bit of screeching halt for me when Bryson described Pennsylvania Dutch as an English dialect He seems to have confused the broken English many older Amish and Mennonite speak expressions like make open the door with the separate language of Pennsylvania Dutch which is a variant of GermanIt was a fun book And as someone who has never been able to spell I finally feel the vindication But I wouldn t stake much on this book s accuracy