Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue

The Untold History of English

Book - 2008
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Linguist John McWhorter dives into the unique syntax of English and explains why no other language is like it. He looks at how English grammar and sentence construction have changed more over the centuries than related Germanic languages, and traces these ties to the survival of Celtic grammatical forms after the Germanic tribes first invaded Britain. He outlines the differences between written and spoken English, and explains how this has misled our understanding of English's evolution.
Publisher: New York : Gotham Books, [2008]
Copyright Date: ©2008
ISBN: 9781592403950
Branch Call Number: 420.9 MCW
Characteristics: xxiii, 230 pages ;,19 cm

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i
IV27HUjg
Jul 31, 2015

Historical interest in how/why English as we know it today evolved.

d
dustyspokes
Feb 22, 2014

Grammar, not vocabulary, makes the English language intriguing, according to McWhorter ). He tackles the specific challenge of explaining to general readers why English grammar diverged and became simplified compared with its Germanic-language siblings. McWhorter's answer lies with speakers of Welsh and Old Norse (the Vikings). He begins by crediting Welsh for our verb conventions, especially adding the verb do to statements such as, "Do you like cheese?" and "I do not like cheese." McWhorter fingers invading Vikings for shearing off the grammatical markings added to nouns, adjectives, and verbs. Finally, he considers the common features of Germanic and Semitic languages. Throughout, McWhorter contrasts English with other languages and exposes deep controversy among scholars.

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