Friday, July 04, 2003

This week, on the suggestion of several Beallsvonian commenters, I read Bill Bryson's The Mother Tongue. This is a neat book about the history of the English language, written more as a popular conversation piece than an academic history. The comments give me pause, as people who know more about this than I do seem to suggest that Bryson's research is shoddy or even wildly inaccurate. Regardless, it's a fun read; my personal favorite part being the 18th-century grammarian who wrote a book imposing his own quirky on English grammar, and those rules somehow stuck, which is why for instance we are not supposed to split infinitives, even though there's no good reason not to do so.

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