Bryson, Bill. THE MOTHER TONGUE: ENGLISH AND HOW IT GOT THAT WAY

1

October 14, 2015 by ethelfritha

mother-tongue-us

There’s a temptation, when discussing something as intimate to the identity of a culture as language, to take a self-congratulatory tone about it, as if the people who speak it are personally responsible for its development and virtues. If the sheer number of books at the Foothills Branch Library examining every possible aspect of the English language is any indication, we are uniquely susceptible to this sort of shoulder-kissing. After all, English is the language of the Internet, the accepted linguistic currency of the world, and that is not terribly likely to change anytime soon. It’s easy to rah-rah-sis-boom-bah about how great you are when you’re at the top of the heap.

Luckily, Bryson manages a tone of genuine humor in The Mother Tongue, without the faux-deprecating humblebrag quality that marks other books like it. English is, after all, an interesting and complex language, with a unique history and place in the world–there’s no need to coyly pretend it isn’t so. But it’s also practically begging to be made fun of–those silent e’s! The nine hundred and twelve different senses of the word “set”! The sheer effrontery of it–the way it amasses the vocabulary of other languages and has the nerve to call it “English”! Bryson is able to talk about all the ways in which English really is remarkable, while still reminding us that we’re merely the recipients of a ridiculous–and complicated–legacy, not the personal victors of some bloody linguistic war.

Advertisements

One thought on “Bryson, Bill. THE MOTHER TONGUE: ENGLISH AND HOW IT GOT THAT WAY

  1. Lady Sierra Buckley says:

    当然不是中文. 你必须想知道这些小房子的特征如何成为一种语言。

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

A year of reading the world

196 countries, countless stories...

Little Bits of History

On This Day in History

lying for a living

make it a good story

The Catholic Table

Prayer. Food. Conversation. And Wine. Lots of Wine

Sancta Nomina

Thoughts on Catholic baby naming

Life, Liberty and Absolute Crap

I went to one of America's finest liberal arts colleges and all I got was this brain

Sia Eliza

pottery | watercolor | writing

Íslenzka.net

I was given to understand there would be bonbons.

TLC

I was given to understand there would be bonbons.

Bite Size Canada

Canadian trivia and history in bite size chunks!

The Ugly Volvo

Attempts at Adulthood

Intellectual Infatuation

I was given to understand there would be bonbons.

Red Rock Lullaby

Musings of a Future Adoptive Mother

West Coast Knitter

Adventures in Knitting and Lifestyle Design for a Humane and Meaningful Life

Book Snob

FOR DISCERNING READERS

Lily Oak Books

I was given to understand there would be bonbons.

The Folk & Rock Musical Box

I was given to understand there would be bonbons.

Moments in Mediocre Motherhood

I was given to understand there would be bonbons.

The Eclectic Book Gatherer

I was given to understand there would be bonbons.

%d bloggers like this: