MOTHER TONGUE BILL BRYSON PDF
Bill Bryson - The Mother Tongue –. English & How It Got That Way. Excerpts from Chapter 5: Where Words Come From. IF YOU HAVE A MORBID FEAR OF. Bill Bryson - The Mother Tongue - English & How It Got That Way (PDF) . In Russia there are no native wordsTHE MOTHER TONGUE for. Title: [DOWNLOAD -PDF-] The Mother Tongue English and How It Got Book Details Author: Bill Bryson Pages: Binding: Paperback.
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PDF | The author of the paper studies issues on personal names discussed in the work of Bill Bryson "Mother Tongue" in order to approve or. Bryson B. The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way. Файл формата pdf; размером 1,62 МБ With dazzling wit and astonishing insight, Bill Bryson— the acclaimed author of The Lost Continent—brilliantly explores the remarkable. Read The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson for free with a 30 day free trial. Read unlimited* books and audiobooks on the web, iPad, iPhone and.
In early , the Pasteur Institute announced that henceforth it would publish its famed international medical review only in English because too few people were reading it in French.
English is just as much big business as the export of manufactured goods, Professor Randolph Quirk of Oxford University has written. Indeed, such is the demand to learn the language that there are now more students of English in China than there are people in the United States. It is often said that what most immediately sets English apart from other languages is the richness of its vocabulary.
Technical and scientific terms would add millions more.
The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way
Altogether, about , English words are in common use, more than in German , and far more than in French a mere , The richness of the English vocabulary, and the wealth of available synonyms, means that English speakers can often draw shades of distinction unavailable to non-English speakers. The French, for instance, cannot distinguish between house and home, between mind and brain, between man and gentleman, between I wrote and I have written.
The Spanish cannot differentiate a chairman from a president, and the Italians have no equivalent of wishful thinking. In Russia there are no native words for efficiency, challenge, engagement ring, have fun, or take care [all cited in The New York Times, June 18, ].
Most speakers of other languages are not aware that such books exist [ The Miracle of Language, page 54]. On the other hand, other languages have facilities we lack. Portuguese has words that differentiate between an interior angle and an exterior one. All the Romance languages can distinguish between something that leaks into and something that leaks out of.
The Italians even have a word for the mark left on a table by a moist glass culacino while the Gaelic speakers of Scotland, not to be outdone, have a word for the itchiness that overcomes the upper lip just before taking a sip of whiskey. And we have nothing in English to match the Danish hygge meaning instantly satisfying and cozy , the French sang-froid, the Russian glasnost, or the Spanish macho, so we must borrow the term from them or do without the sentiment.
At the same time, some languages have words that we may be pleased to do without.
The existence in German of a word like schadenfreude taking delight in the misfortune of others perhaps tells us as much about Teutonic sensitivity as it does about their neologistic versatility. Much the same could be said about the curious and monumentally unpronounceable Highland Scottish word sgiomlaireachd, which means the habit of dropping in at mealtimes. That surely conveys a world of information about the hazards of Highland life—not to mention the hazards of Highland orthography.
Of course, every language has areas in which it needs, for practical purposes, to be more expressive than others. The Eskimos, as is well known, have fifty words for types of snow—though curiously no word for just plain snow. To them there is crunchy snow, soft snow, fresh snow, and old snow, but no word that just means snow. The Italians, as we might expect, have over names for different types of macaroni. Some of these, when translated, begin to sound distinctly unappetizing, like strozzapreti, which means strangled priests.
Vermicelli means little worms and even spaghetti means little strings. When you learn that muscatel in Italian means wine with flies in it, you may conclude that the Italians are gastronomically out to lunch, so to speak, but really their names for foodstuffs are no more disgusting than our hot dogs or those old English favorites, toad-in-the-hole, spotted dick, and faggots in gravy.
Meanwhile, the Arabs are said a little unbelievably, perhaps to have 6, words for camels and camel equipment. The aborigines of Tasmania have a word for every type of tree, but no word that just means tree, while the Araucanian Indians of Chile rather more poignantly have a variety of words to distinguish between different degrees of hunger.
Even among speakers of the same language, regional and national differences abound. A Londoner has a less comprehensive view of extremes of weather than someone from the Middle West of America.
What a Briton calls a blizzard would, in Illinois or Nebraska, be a flurry, and a British heat wave is often a thing of merriment to much of the rest of the world.
I still treasure a London newspaper with the banner headline: A second commonly cited factor in setting English apart from other languages is its flexibility. This is particularly true of word ordering, where English speakers can roam with considerable freedom between passive and active senses.
Not only can we say I kicked the dog, but also The dog was kicked by me —a construction that would be impossible in many other languages. Similarly, where the Germans can say just ich singe and the French must manage with je chante, we can say I sing, I do sing, or I am singing.
English also has a distinctive capacity to extract maximum work from a word by making it do double duty as both noun and verb. The list of such versatile words is practically endless: Other languages sometimes show inspired flashes of versatility, as with the German auf, which can mean on, in, upon, at, toward, for, to, and upward, but these are relative rarities.
At the same time, the endless versatility of English is what makes our rules of grammar so perplexing. Few English-speaking natives, however well educated, can confidently elucidate the difference between, say, a complement and a predicate or distinguish a full infinitive from a bare one.
The reason for this is that the rules of English grammar were originally modeled on those of Latin, which in the seventeenth century was considered the purest and most admirable of tongues. That it may be. But it is also quite clearly another language altogether.
Imposing Latin rules on English structure is a little like trying to play baseball in ice skates. In the sentence I am swimming, swimming is a present participle. But in the sentence Swimming is good for you, it is a gerund—even though it means exactly the same thing. A third—and more contentious—supposed advantage of English is the relative simplicity of its spelling and pronunciation.
For all its idiosyncrasies, English is said to have fewer of the awkward consonant clusters and singsong tonal variations that make other languages so difficult to master. In Cantonese, hae means yes. But, with a fractional change of pitch, it also describes the female pudenda.
The resulting scope for confusion can be safely left to the imagination.
In other languages it is the orthography, or spelling, that leads to bewilderment. In Welsh, the word for beer is cwrw —an impossible combination of letters for any English speaker. But Welsh spellings are as nothing compared with Irish Gaelic, a language in which spelling and pronunciation give the impression of having been devised by separate committees, meeting in separate rooms, while implacably divided over some deep semantic issue.
Try pronouncing geimhreadh, Gaelic for winter, and you will probably come up with something like gem-reed-uh. It is in fact gyeeryee. Against this, the Welsh pronunciation of cwrw — koo-roo —begins to look positively self-evident. In all languages pronunciation is of course largely a matter of familiarity mingled with prejudice. The average English speaker confronted with agglomerations of letters like tchst, sthm, and tchph would naturally conclude that they were pretty well unpronounceable.
Yet we use them every day in the words matchstick, asthma, and catchphrase. Here, as in almost every other area of language, natural bias plays an inescapable part in any attempt at evaluation. No one has ever said, Yes, my language is backward and unexpressive, and could really do with some sharpening up. In Japanese, the word for foreigner means stinking of foreign hair.
bill bryson - the mother tongue audiobook
To the Czechs a Hungarian is a pimple. Germans call cockroaches Frenchmen, while the French call lice Spaniards. We in the English-speaking world take French leave, but Italians and Norwegians talk about departing like an Englishman, and Germans talk of running like a Dutchman. Italians call syphilis the French disease, while both French and Italians call con games American swindle.
Belgian taxi drivers call a poor tipper un Anglais. Late in the last century these epithets focused on the Irish, and often, it must be said, they were as witty as they were wounding.
An Irish buggy was a wheelbarrow. I had already read "A Short History Of Nearly Everything", and, knowing nothing about science, thought it was a rather entertaining read, even though I had some I also believe this to be one of the few books I have on my Goodreads shelves worthy of one star only. Before I start, let me tell you two things: it has been a long time since I read the book, so my memory may not be as fresh anymore.
The second thing I would like to mention is that I have some kind of idea about linguistics, but am not a linguist; where I am, however, a kind of expert, is in the study of foreign languages. I am therefore intimately acquainted with the workings of many foreign languages -- though almost all of them are European.
I have also rather extensively studied the historical connections between languages and their classification in language families and so on. It is painfully obvious that Bryson speaks no foreign languages. Neither does Chomsky and he knows a thing or two about linguistics.
You don't have to be a multilingual prodigy to study linguistics, after all. But I digress. Bryson makes the same mistake most monolingual speakers of any language make: they think of their language as something unique. An eighteenth-century English judge wondered the same thing — and his attempt to answer that question essentially launched the field of historical linguistics. Sir William Jones was working in India when he took up the unusual hobby of learning Sanskrit.
As Jones studied these texts, he began to recognize unmistakable similarities between Sanskrit and the European languages.
Eventually, Jones presented his theory in Calcutta. This presentation gave birth to a whole new field of scholarship.
Mother Tongue: The Story of the English language (PDF)
European scholars began conducting research of their own and, in the end, they agreed with Jones. They named the parent language Indo-European.
Deducing the existence of Indo-European is an impressive feat of historical linguistics. The speakers of this language would have only been alive during the Stone Age around BC and there are no traces of Indo-European writing. And when they migrated to the coast, they invented their own separate words for the ocean.
There are a few major evolutionary points in the development of the English language, and the first came when two Germanic tribes — the Angles and the Saxons — migrated to Britain. These tribes left their lands in northern Germany, near Denmark, and crossed the North Sea to Britain, after the Romans had vacated the area around AD.
Once they arrived, they displaced the Celts and began developing the English language. Then came the Viking invasion of AD. It began when Viking warships left Scandinavia and sailed up the river Thames. Thus began a battle that would rage for almost three decades, until the English finally settled things in AD. Afterward, an area of Britain called the Danelaw was established to divide the nation between the southern English and the northern Vikings. This arrangement had lasting linguistic effects.
Eventually, Old Norse and Old English merged into one language.Miller is less common in Britain than in the USA because in Britain millers were supposed to cheat farmers. How they and their language came to be there is something no one knows.
As Jones studied these texts, he began to recognize unmistakable similarities between Sanskrit and the European languages. Bryson tries to justify the popularity of the English language not with historical or political arguments because I am sure that the colonization of a significant part of the world by the British Empire and the subsequent cultural and political hegemony of the United States had nothing to do with it -- nooo, English is magic!
A question could be answered in a number of way, but Seaspeak only admitted the set one. There is increasing evidence to suggest that languages widely dispersed geographically may be more closely related than once thought.
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