“companion piece to marvelous History Channel show, very interesting especially for a historical fiction lover like myself, from Alfred the Great (Bernard Cornwell) to the Plantagenet Court (Penman) to the Tudors (Weir and Gregory) and beyond--loved it
favorite part--(from 12thC. Eleanor of Acquitaine influence-)
While the English-speaking peasants lived in small, often one-roomed mud and wattle cottages, or huts, their French-speaking masters lived in high stone castles. Many aspects of our modern vocabulary reflect the distinctions between them.
English speakers tended the living cattle, for instance, which we still call by the Old English words 'ox' or 'cow'. French speakers ate prepared meat which came to the table, which we call by the French word 'beef.' In the same way the English 'sheep' became the French 'mutton,' 'calf' became 'veal,' 'deer' became 'venison,' 'pig' 'pork,' English animal, French meat in every case.
The English laboured, the French feasted.”
I enjoyed this a lot. History comes alive when you can actually hear the people speaking, and that’s what this book does. It tells us where all the words come from, the words that run through the minds of all of us English speakers. It shows the relationship between the language and the other languages around it, where walls were built and where walls were penetrated. Treating the language as a living entity works beautifully; we can really feel its muscle.
“This book brings to life the evolution of the English Language. Extremely interesting and thought provoking.”Nita Z wrote this review Wednesday, May 13, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“You can't find a better book to read about biography of a language.Every thing is carried in an adventures style.Though the book is quite long it is worth reading.The only draw back is that many parts of the book is often repeated in consecutive chapters.”Rajan wrote this review Thursday, May 29, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Valuable overview of the changes in our powerful language”Douglas S wrote this review Wednesday, May 28, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Loved it. A very detailed review of how we got the English language we have today in all of its varied forms. .Great information, great stories of people groups who took English (or English took them). How English took over the world.”Steven S wrote this review Saturday, March 29, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Bragg’s books are very strong willed and written. “Adventure” is no exception, it is both learned and challenging. I enjoyed the vast majority of it. Some tedius sections aside, the thrill of tracing the history and development of our English language carried the day. It is jammed packed. Three stars, I’ll explore more from Melvyn Bragg. 11/14/07”Dave Gaston wrote this review Tuesday, November 13, 2007. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No