McWhorter, John H. Our magnificent bastard tongue: the untold history of English / John McWhorter. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references. Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue by John McWhorter, , Gotham Books edition, Paperback in English. Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. This evolutionary history of the English language from author and editor McWhorter (The Power of Babel: A Natural.

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A survey of the quirks and quandaries of the English language, focusing on our strange and wonderful grammar Why do we say “I am reading a catalog”. a preposition). Download Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History pdf · Read Online Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold Histo pdf. Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. A survey of the quirks and quandaries of the Englis.

Not coincidentally, these two aspects of English cause some of the most persistent errors in my students. Curiously, no other Germanic language has these features.

Indeed, they are absent according to McWhorter from every other European language, with the notable exception of the Celtic languages specifically, Welsh and Cornish. This leads him to the quite natural supposition that the indigenous Celtic languages exerted an influence on the Old English spoken by the invading Anglo-Saxons.

Unwed Language

He musters quite a number of evidences and arguments in support of this thesis, to the extent that I was pretty worn out by the end of the chapter. To be fair, this idea is considered quite controversial in the academic community, so McWhorter felt the need to champion it in full battle array.

I presume most readers of this book will be, like me, non-specialists, with little reason to be skeptical of the Celtic influence; to the contrary, it struck me as extremely plausible. In any case, if he is looking to influence the academic community, a short popular book is not the medium to do it. And he rounds out the book by making the considerably more speculative argument that Proto-Germanic diverged in such a distinctive way from Proto-Indo-European because a large number of Semitic speakers Phoenicians who had made it to Denmark learned the language.

At this point I began to have reservations about McWhorter's method. It is merely that Celticisms did not reach the page until then, which is quite a different thing.

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It is as if languages bruise by knocking into each other in the course of everyday speech. The Celtic language bumped into English for a thousand plus years and two prominent bruises remained behind, our usage of do and -ing.

After the continental armies had conquered the Celts in Britain in every way visible, the people who remained behind had been invisibly conquered by the Celtic language which exists today in the language we call English, which is the most prevalent and widespread language in the world of the Internet today, due in no small part to the bruises of simplification it endured from the Celts.

Score a huge victory for the Celts. Our language is a magnificent bastard.

Our magnificent bastard tongue : the untold history of English

Want to gracefully split an infinite? Is ending a sentence with a preposition a length you simply would not go to? Well, McWhorter reminds us that our English lost all of its suffixes in the morning of our Western Civilization!

Write English to be comprehensible not to impress people or otherwise coerce them into rules. Everyone deserves to have their own way of writing without having to klutz it up with "his or her own way of writing. Want to use a plural pronoun for a singular noun as I did above?

Go ahead.

That usage has been around for years at least. As far back as the s, in the Sir Amadace story, one finds the likes Iche mon in thayre degree " Each man in their degree".

Verbs in all the Germanic languages, except one, need to be in second place. You can say in German "I saw a movie. Linguists call this peculiarity of the verb rocketing into second place, aptly, V2. Page This was too tantalizing for me to pass up writing a short poem about.

Does the English Channel grammar? Do the English Channel? Is the English Channel arrived? Did V2 Rockets cross the English Channel?

Did V2 rocket across the English Channel? It split the French coast into Lesser and Greater Brittany, did it not? Let's summarize what we have learned from McWhorter's magnificent book. Add to Cart. Also by John McWhorter. See all books by John McWhorter. Product Details. Inspired by Your Browsing History.

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Download Hi Res. LitFlash The eBooks you want at the lowest prices.McWhorter makes an error about Swedish noun gender. In the current work, he proves that Celtic grammatical structures have given English its "meaningless do " as in "Do you know what I mean?

English grammar picked up some of its most distinctive traits e. Andrew G.

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold Story of English

I give the book three stars because: All of this is much more fun than I have made it sound in this brief synopsis. He shows a somewhat less conservative side than he has shown in other works in his demonstration that getting fussy over grammatical errors such as split infinitives or ending sentences with prepositions is a futile occupation, since it is through errors that language changes and changes in language are inevitable.


Please try again later. The Bees. This is an unfair comparison, of course; and to repeat I think his Celtic argument is quite strong.