Mouthful of Air: Languages, Languages...Especially English

Front Cover
Quill, Oct 1, 1994 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 416 pages
5 Reviews
The author of more than 50 books--including the classic A Clockwork Orange--presents a fascinating survey of language: how it reached its present situation; how it operates now; and how it will develop in the future. Anthony Burgess covers everything from Shakespeare's pronunciation, to the politics of speech, to the place of English in the world, and more.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: A Mouthful of Air: Languages and Language, Especially English

User Review  - Morgana Blackrose - Goodreads

Stunningly erudite, witty and never boring. This book has been a huge inspiration to me and my own writing. Read full review

Review: A Mouthful of Air: Languages and Language, Especially English

User Review  - Neil - Goodreads

For a writer, or a communicator in any medium, this is required reading. The basis of all human communication is still language. Technology rules, but words survive. This is a book about talking. Read full review


Signals in the Dark
The Science of Language
Language in Action

30 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

adjective allophone alphabet American American English Anglo-Saxon anglophone Arabic Arabic alphabet back vowel Beowulf Bible British British English called Celts Chinese Cockney come consonant dialect dictionary diphthong Doctor Zhivago England English language Esperanto film Finnegans Wake foreign French fricative front vowel Geneva Bible George Bernard Shaw German Germanic language glish grammar Greek Greek alphabet Grimm's law guage H. L. Mencken hard palate hear Hebrew homophones Howth Castle i-mutation I. A. Richards ideograms Indo-European Indo-European language Ingvaeones International Phonetic Alphabet Istvaeones Italian kind Krio Laadan Lancashire language lateral consonant Latin Latin languages linguistic lip-rounding lips literary literature loanwords Malay Mazateco meaning mensae merely Middle English modern morphemes mouth MOUTHFUL OF AIR nasal nasal consonants Nineteen Eighty-Four Norman Conquest Northumbria noun Old English Oxford English Dictionary palate phatic phonemes phrase pictograms pidgin plosive plural Portuguese pronounced pronunciation rather Received Pronunciation rendering rhotic rhyme Roman Roman alphabet Romance languages Russian Samuel Johnson Sanskrit Sassenachs schwa Scots Scottish English Scouse seems Semitic languages semivowel sentence Shakespeare slang soft mutation soft palate solecism sound Spanish speak speakers speech spelling Suzette Haden Elgin symbol T. S. Eliot term though tion tongue translation unvoiced velar verb vocabulary vocal vocal cords voiced voiced bilabial fricative vowel vowel length Vowel Shift Vulgate W. H. Auden Welsh words writing Yiddish yogh

About the author (1994)

Anthony Burgess was born in 1917 in Manchester, England. He studied language at Xaverian College and Manchester University. He had originally applied for a degree in music, but was unable to pass the entrance exams. Burgess considered himself a composer first, one who later turned to literature. Burgess' first novel, A Vision of Battlements (1964), was based on his experiences serving in the British Army. He is perhaps best known for his novel A Clockwork Orange, which was later made into a movie by Stanley Kubrick. In addition to publishing several works of fiction, Burgess also published literary criticism and a linguistics primer. Some of his other titles include The Pianoplayers, This Man and Music, Enderby, The Kingdom of the Wicked, and Little Wilson and Big God. Burgess was living in Monaco when he died in 1993.

Bibliographic information