- Paperback: 496 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Revised, Subsequent 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: 64 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #459,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Story of English: Third Revised Edition Revised, Subsequent Edition
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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 more 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 more about our common tongue.
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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.
That English wasn't even the language of the U.K. and French was the primary language of London for 400 years.
And that our current language has so many Shakespeareanisms in it.
Common everyday phrases can be traced back to his verbal inventions.
I wish they would issue the TV series based on this book on DVD.
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Just about everything you ever wanted to know about the English Language is in this book.Read more