Title: Mother Tongue

Author: Bill Bryson

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 278

Rating: 4/5

I’d been putting this one off for a while, and I’m not really sure why. Sure, it looks kind of dense at a glimpse, but it’s not insanely long and it’s also easily interesting enough to keep me reading. Sure, it might not be for everyone, but if you’re a lover of language and you want to know some more about the evolution of English as a tongue, this is the book for you.

I was intimidated by it for a little bit, but I think it was more the case that I had to wait until the right moment. Once you’re in the mood for it, though, there’s some great stuff on how the English language works, along with why it works in the way it does and how it’s been influenced by other languages. If you speak a little French and German then you’re probably going to get a little bit more from it because you’ll already be familiar with a few of the examples.

Overall then, I don’t think this book would sit well with everyone, but I had a cracking time and found myself tabbing out way more in it than I was expecting to. It’s a good one for discussion too, and even though it occasionally goes into detail about various elements of grammar and linguistics, it’s not done so in such a way that a layman would struggle to follow it. As a writer, I found it quite useful, and it’d also make a good book to go alongside The Lexicologist’s Handbook.

Learn more about Mother Tongue.