Mother Tongue: The Story of the English Language

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Penguin Books, 2009 - English language - 269 pages
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'More than 300 million people in the world speak English and the rest, it sometimes seems, try to . . . ' Only Bill Bryson could make a book about the English language so entertaining. With his boundless enthusiasm and restless eye for the absurd, this is his astonishing tour of English. From its mongrel origins to its status as the world's most-spoken tongue; its apparent simplicity to its deceptive complexity; its vibrant swearing to its uncertain spelling and pronunciation, Bryson covers all this as well as the many curious eccentricities that make it as maddening to learn as it is flexible to use. Bill Bryson's classic Mother Tongueis a highly readable and hilarious tale of how English came to be the world's language.

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About the author (2009)

Bill Bryson's bestselling travel books include The Lost Continent and Notes from a Small Island, which in a national poll was voted the book that best represents Britain. Another travel book, A Walk in the Woods, has become a major film starring Robert Redford, Nick Nolte and Emma Thompson. His new number one Sunday Timesbestseller is The Road to Little Dribbling- More Notes from a Small Island.

His acclaimed book on the history of science, A Short History of Nearly Everything, won the Royal Society's Aventis Prize as well as the Descartes Prize, the European Union's highest literary award. He has written books on language, on Shakespeare, on history, and on his own childhood in the hilarious memoir The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. His last critically lauded bestsellers were At Home- a Short History of Private Life, and One Summer- America 1927

Bill Bryson was born in the American Midwest, and now lives in the UK. A former Chancellor of Durham University, he was President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England for five years, and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society.

Bill Bryson was born in 1951 in Des Moines, Iowa, and grew up there, but spent most of his adult life in Britain. He worked for the Bournemouth Evening Echo, Financial Weeklyand The Times

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