[ Free Reading ] The Story of EnglishAuthor Robert McCrum – 91videos.co

Now Revised, The Story Of English Is The First Book To Tell The Whole Story Of The English Language Originally Paired With A Major PBS Miniseries, This Book Presents A Stimulating And Comprehensive Record Of Spoken And Written English From Its Anglo Saxon Origins Some Two Thousand Years Ago To The Present Day, When English Is The Dominant Language Of Commerce And Culture With Than One Billion English Speakers Around The World From Cockney, Scouse, And Scots To Gulla, Singlish, Franglais, And The Latest African American Slang, This Sweeping History Of The English Language Is The Essential Introduction For Anyone Who Wants To Know About Our Common Tongue A main storyline for this book is how English went from an obscure sub branch of the Germanic family of language and not even native to the British Isles to becoming a world language A central figure in this regard is the 1775 dictionary of Dr Samuel Johnson Though he created the cornerstone of Standard English, with his dictionary, Johnson also scorned the idea of permanence in language May the lexicographer be derided, he writes, who being able to produce no example of a nation that has preserved their words and phrases from mutability, shall imagine that his dictionary can embalm his language, and secure it from corruption and decay Migration, the growth and spread of England s empire, and the subsequent emergence of the USA s economic and military dominance were central factors in spreading English around the world But in the American case, there were active attempts to separate American English from English English Here, Noah Webster s dictionary played a key role Webster, the authors say, became a zealous champion of the cause of American language, its spelling, its grammar and its pronunciation The dominance of English begs the question of whose version of English would be dominant What is regarded as standard English depends largely on which group holds the predominant power All other groups speak in dialect and reflect an inferior standing This was especially the case in Victorian England where the Queen s English would be a spoken standard to which the lesser breeds could aspire At Oxford, the authors add, it became virtually a condition of social acceptance among undergraduates that one should speak the Queen s English with a specific accent and intonation The pictures and illustrations in this book were excellent. The chapters cover the same topics as Robert Claiborne s Our Marvelous Native Tongue 1983 tracing the origins of English from the Indo European roots to the presenT However, there is a lot of different material covered in each I believe McCrum s book isreadable Both books were written before the end of the USSR and the dramatic rise of China, and the spread of the internet I like what McCrum called English in his final chapter a link language for it has linked up many diverse people throughout the world On FaceBook, I regularly communicate with people from Bangladesh, Ghana, among other places in English Whether we like it or not, it is today s lingua franca Airline pilots need a common language as do those in technology and sciences It is the language of commerce Almost all international shipping documents are written in English regardless of their origin or destination Whether or not the spoken language is the same, the written language is a means of finance, trade, and technology I can bear witness to the fact that the spoken word is also becomingunified. For anyone who speaks English, or has tried to master its unruly spelling and grammar this book is a must It explains WHY the English language is a linguistic hodgepodge as we know it today, and why we still use those crazy silent gh s as in laugh, taught, etc., and other assorted spellings and pronunciations that frustrate even native speakers If you re interested in word origins idioms, you ll learn about the many authors writing in English who invented thousands of new words over the past 500 years words and expressions we use every day There is even a chapter on American English which clears up the mystery Why don t we sound British Why does English in Boston sound so different in Dallas or New Orleans Yet, with hundreds facts, you don t have to be a history or linguistics scholar to make this a good read.I was especially caught up with the fact that the U.S southern accent was derived from Africa The people in the south who had slaves picked up their African accent which became our own southern accent and that accent can still be heard in parts of Africa today.The English language has been on a remarkable journey, and that s the subject of this remarkable book It s not a book one can breeze through To get the most out of it requires careful reading Read this book You ll learn things about the English language you never knew. See review from my blog Story of English is a classic case of don t judge a book by its cover English and history are two of my least favorite subjects and so naturally I should be repelled by a book containing the history of the English language But, I gave it the benefit of the doubt and to my surprise I m enjoying it.I haven t finished this book yet, but I m writing this review cause I think it requires a progressive review There is just too much information to fill this in a single review.Chapter 1 An English Speaking WorldThe book begins with how the English language became globalized during the recent past Not starting the book with mundane ancient anthropological history lesson on the language helped with making me want to read on.This chapter colorfully illustrates how proper English became globalized with the influences of social classes, world wars, development of radios and motion pictures, popular cultures, and economical globalization Interesting facts from Ch 1 Today, English is used by at least 750 million people, and barely half of those speak it as a mother tongue pg 9 Of all the world s languages which now number some 2,700 , it is arguably the richest in vocabulary The compendious Oxford English Dictionary lists about 500,000 words neighboring German has vocabulary of about 185,000 words and the French 100,000 pg 10 A Dutch poet is read by a few thousands Translated into English, he can be read by hundreds of thousands pg 11 Non standard English was now seriously stigmatized as the mark of the under educated pg 14 An accent has two vital functions first, it gives us a clue about the speaker s life and career second, an accent will give a good indication of the speaker s community values, and what he or she identifies with pg 20 Throuhout the 1950s , American television and movies combined to bring American English and the American way of life as interpreted by to a world audience pg 25 American broadcasting, of course, had long been the most potent medium of the English language pg 27 It is the non linguistic forces cultural, social, economical and political that have made English the first work language in human history and instilled its driving force pg 41Chapter 2 The Mother TongueThe second chapter is where the book begins to chronicle the development of the English from the very beginning The development of the language includes the origination of the Indo European language with the influence of the Celtic, Anglo Saxons, Latin and Greek through Christianity , Danes, and the French speaking Normans.Despite how this may sound boring, the authors do a pretty good job in keeping the stories entertaining Interesting facts from Ch 2 the language was brought to Britain by Germanic tribes, the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, influenced by Latin and Greek when St Augustine and his followers converted England to Christianity, subtly enriched by the Danes, and finally transformed by the French speaking Normans pg 46 about 1 3 of the human race come from this Indo European common source These include the European descendants of Latin, French, and Spanish, a great Slavic language, Russian, the Celtic language, Irish and Scots Gaelic, and the offshoots of German Dutch and English pg 47 the first invaders of the British Isles the Angles, Saxons and Jute The English language arrived in Britain on the point of a sword pg 55 100 most common words in English are all of Anglo Saxon origin pg 58 This is an excellent historical exploration of the development and spread of the English language or perhaps, as the authors suggest, languages Not surprisingly, as the book is thirty years old, the later sections could use an update I would especially like to readabout English in South Africa after the end of apartheid, and also to hear the authors thoughts about the impact on English of globalization and the Internet But even without the last three decades of the story of English, this book is well worth reading for anyone who loves language and history. Finally finished trudging through this monstrosity, cover to cover It s an excellent textbook, chock full of history, politics, and specific examples I was so excited to find a book that brought history and linguistics together I especially loved the fact that specific words are used within the broader storyline The author will be talking about how one people group moved and their vocab changed, and will throw in pronunciations of specific words and their meanings as proof of that Just a sampling among many cases, but it makes the history really come alive in modern speech.See also The Story of English in 100 Words and The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. I believe this was found amongst the books in the now defunct Ennui Cafe on Sheridan and Lunt in Chicago s Rogers Park neighborhood Since about half of the volumes there were my contributions I felt free to walk with it.The Story of English came out in 1986 linked with a PBS BBC 9 part series of the same title I never saw the show, but my appreciation for the book didn t seem to depend on that As someone who had never before read a book length history of the language, I found the text to be clear, accessible and quite interesting, particularly as regards the modern dialects of English and their origins Such prejudices as I d held as regards supposedly inferior versions of the language have been moderated by reading this work. This was a thorough, informative and entertaining view of how the English language developed It is still very current in its info It is amazing to realize how very differently people speak this language, even in the USA. Meh, it was okay It started off strong I particularly liked some of the early history, and the description of how English is an offspring of German but then it got weaker I felt in some places like McCrum was making generalizations, in other places like he was making conclusions that weren t warranted He does offer some interesting examples of origins of well known words and phrases, and others seemed either to not make sense, or he didn t explain them well enough for me to understand how they were an example of what he was talking about.So it s a decent book, but not the winner it seemed like it was going to be.