You Say Potato: A Book About Accents

  • by Ben Crystal, David Crystal
  • Narrated by Ben Crystal, David Crystal, Jane Savage, Hilton McRae
  • 7 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

An authoritative, entertaining book about our accents and what they say about us.
Some people say 'sconn' while others say 'schown'. He says 'bath' while she says 'bahth'. You say 'potayto'. I say 'potahto'. And - wait a second, no one says 'potahto'. No one's ever said 'potahto'. Have they?
From reconstructing Shakespeare's accent to the rise and fall of received pronunciation, actor Ben Crystal and his linguist father, David, travel the world in search of the stories of spoken English. Everyone has an accent, though many of us think we don't. We all have our likes and dislikes about the way other people speak, and everyone has something to say about 'correct' pronunciation.
But how did all these accents come about, and why do people feel so strongly about them? Are regional accents dying out as English becomes a global language? And most importantly of all: what went wrong in Birmingham? Witty, authoritative, and jam-packed full of fascinating facts, You Say Potato is a celebration of the myriad ways in which the English language is spoken - and how our accents, in so many ways, speak louder than words.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Half this book is fascinating...

David Crystal's sections of this audiobook are well-researched, detailed and often fascinating, even if his attempts at depicting the accents he's describing are often woeful. His son Ben's contributions, however, are nothing more than a tedious collection of weak autobiographical anecdotes, thrown together to illustrate minor points, and delivered in an awkward style that attempts to be conversational. One chapter takes 20 minutes to tell us that actors using their own accent are sometimes more convincing, and apparently requires an entire recitation of 'Now, gods, stand up for bastards...' to make the point. I ended up skipping half the chapters.
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- Matt

Fantastic book about accents

What did you like most about You Say Potato: A Book About Accents?

This book is brilliant! As an English philologist and non-native English speaker, I have enjoyed every single chapter. If you are interested in linguistics, phonetics, history, accents and English language, this book is a must.


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- Alejandra Garcia Romero

Book Details

  • Release Date: 21-05-2015
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd.