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.
Bill Bryson has carved out a niche for himself as a popular travel writer with an interest in language. Read morePublished 7 days 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 11 days 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 1 month 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 1 month ago by Patrick Laughlin
Someone gave me this book because I like words. I was afraid it would be academic and droll but it was not at all. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Geri D. Hagler
Absolutely one of the most enjoyable non-fiction books I've ever read. Most reviews are very positive. Read morePublished 1 month ago by David H. Eisenberg
It's well researched and well written, just not as hilarious as his travelogues usually are.Published 1 month ago by little fiery one
What was needed for a kid in school. Good price and very happy.Published 2 months ago by Daniel Murtaugh