So it shouldn't surprise you when I tell you that not too long ago - probably on a Friday night because that's how
It took one round-trip flight to New York for me to finish it. As soon as I opened it, I was hooked. Bragg tells the story as if the English language were some great adventurer and he's writing the biography of English the Conqueror. I was riveted. So many little things about our language make so much sense now - like how the American accent developed (as opposed to the British/Scottish/Irish/Whatever accents that all the original settlers had), why we have British and American spellings of the same words, and the origins of many of our words. I totally expected this to be just slightly more interesting than a text book and did not anticipate and adventure story. Here's a look at what I mean:
"It would be a lengthy, bloody, martyr-strewn and bitter fight that English would have to claim its proper place in the Church. This infiltration was an omen. It came in quietly and stealthily through the beasts."
You know what he's describing in that quote? Religious stories from the thirteenth century that portrayed various animals and used their behaviors as a basis to teach Christian morality. Most of these were written in Latin but a tiny few were written in English. Hence, the "infiltration" Braggs refers to above. Who writes about a language like that?? Who, I ask you??? Mutha-effin' Melvyn Bragg, that's who.
If you're looking to change up your reading list and add something educational but interesting, I highly recommend The Adventure of English. Especially if you like languages or nerdy trivia (there's lots of trivia-like facts in the book!).