- Paperback: 496 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; 3 Rev Sub edition (December 31, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0142002313
- ISBN-13: 978-0142002315
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,637 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Story of English: Third Revised Edition 3 Rev Sub Edition
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From Library Journal
A tie-in for a nine-part television series to be broadcast over PBS beginning in September, this is a wide-ranging account of the travels and changes of the English tongue from its beginnings to tomorrow, from England to America to Australia to Africa and India and the Pacific. Despite an occasionally perceptible British bias, the authors have tried hard to paint a colorful, vivid picture of the many faces and varieties of English. The text is never dull, but is enlivened by innumerable examples and by interviews with representative individuals: a minister in Scotland, a couple from the Appalachians, a storekeeper in Newfoundland, a Philadelphia shoeshine man, a cockney fruitseller, an Australian farm family, the president of Sierra Leone, a writing professor in India. A readable book that all public libraries should have. BOMC alternate. Catherine V. von Schon, SUNY, Stony Brook
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Highly enjoyable...A first-rate introduction to one of the most fascinating of subjects." —The New York Times
"Rarely has the English language been scanned so brightly and broadly in a single volume." —The San Francisco Chronicle
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Top Customer Reviews
When I saw there was a third edition available, I thought that it would pick up the big story from earlier editions and add to it in a big way. While ordering it, I wondered what new content and images I might find adding to the already great story. Sadly, I found the third edition to be a smaller, colorless, minimal update to the original. The third edition contains no color images and no photographs at all. The third edition is a small book mostly re-telling the original story in a less grand way. I am glad I still have my copy of the first edition.
One of the things that would've been helpful would have been if the preview option (click and look inside) would've included one of the black and white illustrations/maps. That might have also have helped to clue me into the drastic changes that were made.
I will review this book by introducing who I am and what I wanted.
I speak several languages and teach English in a foreign country. However I did not study linguistics or Eng. Hist. at school, so while I have a reasonable grasp of language and language quirks and workings, not an actual expert on those subjects.
Then one day I got interested in English, the history of the language, and linguistics, really bit by a bug, and went out and got all sorts of books on the subjects. This was one of those books.
Of the 10 or more books I have read on this subject in the last 6 mos, this and the similarly titled "The Stories of English" by David Crystal are the best as being an overview, introduction to English and its history. The Story of English, from the US tv series, and the Stories of English have similar titles but are very different books. Well, a lot of the same ground is covered by them, but some differences and with different aims. "Story" gives the history with a self-congratulatory isn't-English-great? backdrop (it's not too overbearing), and focuses a lot on pronunciation and dialect differences. It is a little more US-centered, a little shallower and just a little easier to read. Crystal's Stories while addressing accents and dialects in depth also talks about structure a little more and literature as well and has a bit more on the relations between Eng and various other languages. He also takes as a theme the need to recognize the legitimacy of dialect grammar differences. The last 300 yrs have seen the proscriptivism of a standard grammar, calling others mistakes. It is important to accept other grammars not just to be nice, but because all are based on the original dialects of the Angles, Saxons, Jutes. Story while talking about dialect, especially pronunciation differences, touches on grammar proscriptivism and its roots only in passing. Also Crystal certainly explains what Old English was in a more in-depth and understandable way than Story, including charts and excerpts etc. Overall I would say go with Crystal's Stories if you have to choose; I really got a lot out of it, but it was not a waste reading both.
English is such a horrible language to learn as a foreigner.
There was also a Public Television series by the same name, which is how I learned of this book.
"The Bonesetter's Daughter", however, really TOOK THE CAKE for character development and plot complexity.