Bryson displays an encyclopedic knowledge of his topic, and this inevitably encourages a light tone; the more you know about a subject, the more absurd it becomes. No jokes are necessary, the facts do well enough by themselves, and Bryson supplies tens per page. As well as tossing off gems of fractured English (from a Japanese eraser: "This product will self-destruct in Mother Earth."), Bryson frequently takes time to compare the idiosyncratic tongue with other languages. Not only does this give a laugh (one word: Welsh), and always shed considerable light, it also makes the reader feel fortunate to speak English.
On p. 107 he manages to associate the Martha's Vineyard pronunciation research with Trudgill instead of Labov.
Bill Bryson's humor and style of writing always guarantee a wonderful read, but this was a particularly enjoyable book.
It's a book you'll need to keep around, go back to from time to time and can even be read out of order or in intervals.
I've never read Bryson before, so didn't know what to expect. His writing style is fun. Bryson packs a ton of fascinating information about the English language into very... Read morePublished 17 days ago by J. Lussier
I'm a language nerd (though not exactly an expert in anything; I'm a self-taught freelance editor with an eye for line edits). Read morePublished 19 days ago by Swank Ivy
Hilarious and incredibly rich in the conundrums, peculiarities, and wealth contained in the English language. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Randy Mack
Bill Bryson has carved out a niche for himself as a popular travel writer with an interest in language. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Hamilton Beck
I enjoyed this book. Bryson really does a nice job of tracing the history of the English and other languages. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Island Lawyer
Gave it as a gift and he loved it. A must read if you are planning to Teach English as a Foreign Language.Published 2 months ago by Connie Beard
If you have any interest whatsoever in the English language, you will love this book. And it is by Bill Bryson, one of the funniest writers around. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Patrick Laughlin