The Story of English

❰Read❯ ➫ The Story of English Author Robert McCrum – 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 reco 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 than one billion English speakers around the world From Cockney The Story MOBI :ò 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 about our common tongue.The Story of English

Robert McCrum is an associate editor of the Observer He was born and educated in Cambridge For nearly years he was editor in chief of the publishers Faber Faber He is the co author of The Story of English and has written six novels He was the literary editor of the Observer from to and has been a regular contributor to the Guardian since .

The Story of English Epub ñ The Story  MOBI :ò
  • Paperback
  • 496 pages
  • The Story of English
  • Robert McCrum
  • English
  • 02 October 2016
  • 9780142002315

10 thoughts on “The Story of English

  1. says:

    As a graduate student I took a class called The Development of Modern English I believe my professor used this book as her inspiration even if it wasn't the text book for the course because the course followed this same order and covered most of the same information with additions reflecting the 25 or so years between the book's publication and the year I took the class I understand why my professor used this book if she did because it's extremely thorough well written and engagingAs the title claims this is a story not a history The book details the progression of English and moves forward steadily ending with a uestion mark since language is ever evolving I found each of the chapters fascinating but my favorites were on the earliest periods of English and the ways that other cultures and peoples use and influence English like the chapter on Black English I find it ironic which is the case for any book of this type that the chapters most out of date are those about contemporary times The book was published in 1986 so everything up until the book's genesis is still relevant However there are so many references to statistics and to changes in the cultures around the world population counts estimates etc that are clearly no longer valid I would love to see an edition that discusses social media language and all the new words it's engendered Yet I was surprised by how much is still relevant and accurate thirty one years laterMy dad and I read this book together We both enjoyed it and it led to good discussions I love that language has power and I'm a proud native English speaker I feel weird saying that in a way because my mom is Puerto Rican and while she doesn't speak Spanish her dad didn't want his children learning Spanish since they were all born in the States he wanted them to speak English and English only Spanish is a part of my heritage and I grew up hearing my grandmother speak it I took Spanish in school and I feel connected to it in a way People always assume I speak Spanish when they see me and when they hear that I speak broken Spanish and speak it like a gringa they are surprised I feel like claiming English as my language is strange and almost wrong Add to that the fact that I'm American so my English is American English I don't even come from the place where English originated But I feel like my story is the story of English It's a language that so many people claim as theirs most of whom have no connection to England whatsoever As McCrum uotes in the section on the New Englishes English is not my mother's tongue but it is my mother tongue I enjoyed the story of my language and I enjoyed McCrum's detailing of that story I know some Spanish I know basic Italian and I'm teaching myself French I recognize the value and beauty in other languages but I love my own Because the way in which languages work has always fascinated me a scientificlinguistic approach draws me in I feel like McCrum was the same way he wanted to meet people who spoke varieties of English to highlight and emphasize the language's versatility to recognize the validity behind the various versions of English spoken all over the world to discuss the oddity of people speaking the language of a conuering nation and making it their own and to correlate English's ancient history with its current movement I highly recommend this book Whether you're a native English speaker or English is your second or third or fourth language if you're interested in studying a language's history and place in history this book will definitely interest and appeal to you

  2. says:

    This was a thorough informative and entertaining view of how the English language developed It is still very current in its info It is amazing to realize how very differently people speak this language even in the USA

  3. says:

    The chapters cover the same topics as Robert Claiborne's Our Marvelous Native Tongue 1983 tracing the origins of English from the Indo European roots to the presenT However there is a lot of different material covered in each I believe McCrum's book is readable Both books were written before the end of the USSR and the dramatic rise of China and the spread of the internet I like what McCrum called English in his final chapter a link language for it has linked up many diverse people throughout the world On FaceBook I regularly communicate with people from Bangladesh Ghana among other places in English Whether we like it or not it is today's lingua franca Airline pilots need a common language as do those in technology and sciences It is the language of commerce Almost all international shipping documents are written in English regardless of their origin or destination Whether or not the spoken language is the same the written language is a means of finance trade and technology I can bear witness to the fact that the spoken word is also becoming unified

  4. says:

    For anyone who speaks English or has tried to master its unruly spelling and grammar this book is a must It explains WHY the English language is a linguistic hodgepodge as we know it today and why we still use those crazy silent ghs as in laugh taught etc and other assorted spellings and pronunciations that frustrate even native speakers If you're interested in word origins idioms you'll learn about the many authors writing in English who invented thousands of new words over the past 500 years words and expressions we use every day There is even a chapter on American English which clears up the mystery ”Why don't we sound British? Why does English in Boston sound so different in Dallas or New Orleans? Yet with hundreds facts you don't have to be a history or linguistics scholar to make this a good readI was especially caught up with the fact that the US southern accent was derived from Africa The people in the south who had slaves picked up their African accent which became our own southern accent and that accent can still be heard in parts of Africa todayThe English language has been on a remarkable journey and that's the subject of this remarkable book It's not a book one can breeze through To get the most out of it reuires careful reading Read this book You'll learn things about the English language you never knew

  5. says:

    A main storyline for this book is how English went from “an obscure sub branch of the Germanic family of language and not even native to the British Isles” to becoming a world language A central figure in this regard is the 1775 dictionary of Dr Samuel Johnson Though he created “the cornerstone of Standard English” with his dictionary Johnson also “scorned the idea of permanence in language” “May the lexicographer be derided” he writes “who being able to produce no example of a nation that has preserved their words and phrases from mutability shall imagine that his dictionary can embalm his language and secure it from corruption and decay” Migration the growth and spread of England’s empire and the subseuent emergence of the USA’s economic and military dominance were central factors in spreading English around the world But in the American case there were active attempts to separate American English from English English Here Noah Webster’s dictionary played a key role Webster the authors say became a “zealous” champion “of the cause of American language its spelling its grammar and its pronunciation”The dominance of English begs the uestion of whose version of English would be dominant What is regarded as “standard English” depends largely on which group holds the predominant power All other groups speak in dialect and reflect an inferior standing This was especially the case in Victorian England where ‘the ueen’s English” would be “a spoken standard to which the ‘lesser breeds’ could aspire” “At Oxford” the authors add it became virtually a condition of social acceptance among undergraduates that one should ‘speak the ueen’s English with a specific accent and intonation’” The pictures and illustrations in this book were excellent

  6. says:

    Albeit somewhat dated this was a marvelous telling of the history of the English language and it's multitudinous variations There's a bit of ethnocentrism at the beginning in which the author recounts the virtue of English in that in his opinion it is the most varied most expressive and most descriptive of all known languages which I can't agree with But after you get past that it is wonderful to learn about American English Australian English Jamaican English to name but a few It is also highly interesting that thanks to it's exploited colonial history English may be the voice of Pan African unity I also somewhat enjoy that American English is considered by some in the United Kingdom as vulgar and crass; the worst of all languagesAs a person who is ethnically British and nationally American English is my heritage and to learn the variety of ways in which it has evolved and adapted to various cultures around the world even those that it was sadly imposed upon is uite remarkable There is always a push to somehow standardize the language world wide which I think is a horrific mistake We should learn to love and embrace cultures who turn something into their own I think this is a legacy of the Imperial past which is unfortunately looked upon with nostalgia by some Those who speak their uniue versions of English often feel lesser because of it around the proper speakers and that is uite a shame I embrace all the varieties of English and would love to be able to witness how they flourish grow and change over the coming centuriesif only I were immortal

  7. says:

    This is an excellent historical exploration of the development and spread of the English language or perhaps as the authors suggest languages Not surprisingly as the book is thirty years old the later sections could use an update I would especially like to read about English in South Africa after the end of apartheid and also to hear the authors' thoughts about the impact on English of globalization and the Internet But even without the last three decades of the story of English this book is well worth reading for anyone who loves language and history

  8. says:

    See review from my blog Story of English is a classic case of “don’t judge a book by its cover” English and history are two of my least favorite subjects and so naturally I should be repelled by a book containing the history of the English language But I gave it the benefit of the doubt and to my surprise I’m enjoying itI haven’t finished this book yet but I’m writing this review cause I think it reuires a progressive review There is just too much information to fill this in a single reviewChapter 1 An English Speaking WorldThe book begins with how the English language became globalized during the recent past Not starting the book with mundane ancient anthropological history lesson on the language helped with making me want to read onThis chapter colorfully illustrates how proper English became globalized with the influences of social classes world wars development of radios and motion pictures popular cultures and economical globalization Interesting facts from Ch 1 “Today English is used by at least 750 million people and barely half of those speak it as a mother tongue” pg 9 “Of all the world’s languages which now number some 2700 it is arguably the richest in vocabulary The compendious Oxford English Dictionary lists about 500000 words neighboring German has vocabulary of about 185000 words and the French 100000” pg 10 ”A Dutch poet is read by a few thousands Translated into English he can be read by hundreds of thousands” pg 11 “Non standard English was now seriously stigmatized as the mark of the under educated” pg 14 “An accent has two vital functions first it gives us a clue about the speaker’s life and career; second an accent will give a good indication of the speaker’s community values and what he or she identifies with” pg 20 ”Throuhout the 1950s American television and movies combined to bring American English and the American way of life as interpreted by – to a world audience” pg 25 ”American broadcasting of course had long been the most potent medium of the English language” pg 27 ”It is the non linguistic forces – cultural social economical and political – that have made English the first work language in human history and instilled its driving force ” pg 41Chapter 2 The Mother TongueThe second chapter is where the book begins to chronicle the development of the English from the very beginning The development of the language includes the origination of the Indo European language with the influence of the Celtic Anglo Saxons Latin and Greek through Christianity Danes and the French speaking NormansDespite how this may sound boring the authors do a pretty good job in keeping the stories entertaining Interesting facts from Ch 2 “ the language was brought to Britain by Germanic tribes the Angles Saxons and Jutes influenced by Latin and Greek when St Augustine and his followers converted England to Christianity subtly enriched by the Danes and finally transformed by the French speaking Normans” pg 46 “ about 13 of the human race come from this Indo European ‘common source’ These include the European descendants of Latin French and Spanish a great Slavic language Russian the Celtic language Irish and Scots Gaelic and the offshoots of German – Dutch and English” pg 47 “ the first invaders of the British Isles – the Angles Saxons and Jute The English language arrived in Britain on the point of a sword” pg 55 ”100 most common words in English are all of Anglo Saxon origin” pg 58

  9. says:

    Review title The global languageCover subtitle A companion to the PBS television seriesThe English language is a fascinating subject for me and for many It is the tool we use to live work and play and unlike the TV technology that threatened to atrophy language skills remember the idioms the idiot box the boob tube or the one eyed babysitter? today's portable device driven social media is intensely verbal While we might argue whether texttwitter syntax and spelling is innovative or destructive in either case we are exercising the language intensely and debating about it which I would argue must be a good thingThe Story of English from 1986 predates this technical explosion and only hints at the other coming tidal wave of change for the language the billions of Chinese citizens who are moving into the mainstream of global business via the global language of English So despite being out of date for those major sea changes The Story is fun reading as it focuses on the input streams that shaped English and then the geographic movement of the language from the borderlands of Angle Saxon England across the island the kingdom and across the oceans to America and the Empire As befits a television documentary companion the book is well illustrated with pictures and maps so that it is fun and informative reading for interesting laymen with extensive chapter bibliographies for further studyThe book concludes with a concern that with its growth as of 1986 and with explosive growth in the future English may be unable to remain a single language disintegrating instead into multiple threads of related but distinct languages This is where the experience of the last 25 years has been instructive and I think the authors' worries have not been realized I work for a global technology company and am part of a global team with resources throughout the US the UK Europe India and China I chair a 30 minute daily working call with team members from Beijing the US and Lucerne Switzerland and have been on calls this week with resources from England Ireland and India All conversations were in English and there was little time spent in repeating because of misunderstood accents or unknown vocabulary during meetings in Beijing this year which were conducted in Chinese I was able to follow the topics of the conversation if not the outcomes because so much of the technical content was in EnglishAfter working with global resources for the last five plus years I believe that because so much of the language of technology is English around a relatively small and circumscribed vocabulary that cross cultural English works very well Partly this success is because of the accommodation of native English speakers to differences in syntax spelling and usage Is it corrupting the language? I don't think it can be called corrupting if everyone including native speakers and speakers of English as a second or third language can understand it So while linguists may worry me as a layman not so much Enjoy the history and enjoy using the tool of language crafted for us by the centuries of giants whose shoulders we stand upon today

  10. says:

    Finally finished trudging through this monstrosity cover to cover It's an excellent textbook chock full of history politics and specific examples I was so excited to find a book that brought history and linguistics togetherI especially loved the fact that specific words are used within the broader storyline The author will be talking about how one people group moved and their vocab changed and will throw in pronunciations of specific words and their meanings as proof of that Just a sampling among many cases but it makes the history really come alive in modern speechSee also The Story of English in 100 Words and The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *