Journeys in English

  • by Bill Bryson
  • Narrated by Bill Bryson
  • 2 hrs and 47 mins
  • Radio/TV Program

Publisher's Summary

Bill Bryson presents a fascinating exploration of the history of the English language. This highly entertaining BBC Radio 4 series is written and presented by Bill Bryson and based on his best-selling book Mother Tongue. In it, he romps through the history of Britain to reveal how English became such an infuriatingly complex - but ultimately world-beating - language.
But why English? Why don't we speak Gallic, or any other of the European languages? According to Bryson, it's down to the remarkable ability for the English language to assimilate other vocabularies, to adapt and - above all - to survive.
From the old English words that are still in everyday use, such as 'eat', 'drink', 'man' and 'wife', to the current hybrid language of the 21st century with its many diverse dialects, Bryson, in his unique and ever-affable style, guides us through the development of English into a rich and expressive language.
Bryson explains how English has been shaped through invasion and conquest, as well as the rules that brought order to a disorderly language, the million and one ways to have fun with the English language, and the struggle with phrasal verbs (including the way things often get lost in the translation). And finally, he contemplates the future of English. Does Estuary English really Rule OK?


See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A quick few lessons in our other tongue

With this book - following as it does the BBC Radio 4 programme or is that was the programmes gives us a taster as to the origins of our language - said by many to be the or one of the most colourful and diverse languages on the planet.

There's a problem though.. thus only 4 stars not the 5 it should have had ? Mr Bryson himself is a great author - I know I have all of his other works... BUT in my opinion he should leave the reading of them to others with greater depth of tone and rhythmical speech. William Roberts for example has read most of the other works available here and he is great in giving Mr Bryson?s books voice. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid also suffered for the same reason.

I have been critical of other books due to the person reading and stand as I did before by the remark this is my view and who am I to criticise? I cannot claim any special knowledge or understanding in matter lyrical but I know what I like when it comes to audiobooks.

Despite this you should finish the book with a thirst ? to learn more about our great language.
Read full review

- David

English is such a strange language

As with all Brysons books this makes for a fantasic read (or listen). There is something about the way in which he uses hunour to inspire understanding and learning. I always learn from Bryson and feel better for the humour. It is dangerous to listen to this book in a public place for fear of laughing out loud and being seen as slightly nutsy! Beware!
Read full review

- T. Fulford

Book Details

  • Release Date: 18-03-2008
  • Publisher: BBC Worldwide Limited