Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States

Made in America An Informal History of the English Language in the United States Readers from Toad Suck Arkansas to Idiotsville Oregon and everywhere in between will love Made in America Bill Bryson s Informal History of the English Language in the United States It is in a wo

Readers from Toad Suck, Arkansas, to Idiotsville, Oregon and everywhere in between will love Made in America, Bill Bryson s Informal History of the English Language in the United States It is, in a word, fascinating After reading this tour de force, it s clear that a nation s language speaks volumes about its true character you are what you speak Bryson traces AmericReaders from Toad Suck, Arkansas, to Idiotsville, Oregon and everywhere in between will love Made in America, Bill Bryson s Informal History of the English Language in the United States It is, in a word, fascinating After reading this tour de force, it s clear that a nation s language speaks volumes about its true character you are what you speak Bryson traces America s history through the language of the time, then goes on to discuss words culled from everyday activities immigration, eating, shopping, advertising, going to the movies, and others Made in America will supply you with interesting facts and cocktail chatter for a year or Did you know, for example, that Teddy Roosevelt s speak softly and carry a big stick credo has its roots in a West African proverb Or that actor Walter Matthau s given name is Walter Mattaschanskayasky Or that the supposedly frigid Puritans who called themselves Saints, by the way had something called a pre contract, which was a license for premarital sex Made in America is an excellent discussion of American English, but what makes the book such a treasure is that it offers much, much .

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Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States

About Author

  1. William McGuire Bill Bryson, OBE, FRS was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951 He settled in England in 1977, and worked in journalism until he became a full time writer He lived for many years with his English wife and four children in North Yorkshire He and his family then moved to New Hampshire in America for a few years, but they have now returned to live in the UK.In The Lost Continent, Bill Bryson s hilarious first travel book, he chronicled a trip in his mother s Chevy around small town America It was followed by Neither Here Nor There, an account of his first trip around Europe Other travel books include the massive bestseller Notes From a Small Island, which won the 2003 World Book Day National Poll to find the book which best represented modern England, followed by A Walk in the Woods in which Stephen Katz, his travel companion from Neither Here Nor There, made a welcome reappearance , Notes From a Big Country and Down Under.Bill Bryson has also written several highly praised books on the English language, including Mother Tongue and Made in America In his last book, he turned his attention to science A Short History of Nearly Everything was lauded with critical acclaim, and became a huge bestseller It was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize, before going on to win the Aventis Prize for Science Books and the Descartes Science Communication Prize His next book, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, is a memoir of growing up in 1950s America, featuring another appearance from his old friend Stephen Katz October 8 sees the publication of A Really Short History of Nearly Everything.


Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States Comment

  1. Bill Bryson is like the Abba of books Everyone, your granny and your kid s teacher and your babysitter, and your mum s friends, everybody has a couple they really like and they probably have Bill Bryson s Greatest Hits on the cd shelf too Safest present to give to someone you know very little about a Bill Bryson book Oh, everyone loves him Didn t he do Dancing Queen We danced to Notes from a Small Island at our wedding Oh did you A Short History of Nearly Everything was our book I m in the middl [...]

  2. I m up to Benjamin Franklin and frankly Ben, I ve had enough of you and this book I usually like Bryson s writing style, but the fruity self congratulatory tone of this is irritating Also, I think if you are an American you might be a great deal interested in the entire of history of America as experienced by European settlers than I am No might about it, of course you are, its your country Me, sorry, but I couldn t care less.Does that sound almost sacrilegious to you Ask yourself this, what in [...]

  3. Bryson s Made In America is a usually fascinating but sometimes overwhelming conversation about the manner in which language has evolved in the United States over the last couple hundred years If you imagine a guy at the end of the bar who knows way too much about a particular subject and, while he shares quite a few compelling and memorable facts with you over the course of an evening, eventually you forget them all because there are so goddamn many that you just want the guy to be quiet for a [...]

  4. I am such a nerd Why else would I find a book about words exciting than The Bourne Identity or Hunt For Red October Then again, in my defense and to give enormous credit where it is due 1 I am a writer and words are everything to my trade, and 2 Bill Bryson brings such a fascinating and encyclopedic knowledge not just of etymology but a sensitivity to the historical and cultural environment within which language develops and evolves His anecdotes are both engaging and informative But beyond tha [...]

  5. This was thoroughly researched and full of trivia type facts of U.S history and the evolution of words in American English Much of these facts were fascinating, but then the book got boring Maybe it was the layout and the way that all the facts were organized I can t really tell This being Bill Bryson, well, I guess that I wanted to like it much than I did I definitely prefer his travelogues, which are among my favorite books ever.

  6. WARNING THIS REVIEW STOOPS TO LOW GIMMICKRY Specifically, the reader is invited to imagine a conversation between two reviewers, both of whom live inside my head As will become evident, one is infinitely crotchety than the other, possibly to the extent of bloody mindedness To keep guesswork to a minimum, I will alternate between regular and italic fonts.This exploration of American English by Bill Bryson contains a wealth of entertaining anecdotal materialthat is unfortunately often buried in a [...]

  7. I will admit that I didn t actually finish this book, but by 3 4 of the way through, I was totally bored with it The first few chapters of this book were actually interesting in that they discusses the way that the first settlers in American spoke, how that gradually began to differ from the way people spoke in English and how different it is from modern American speech However, after these sections, the book simply introduced a historical period or a new technology and basically listed the word [...]

  8. Bill Bryson hat sich als Autor zahlreicher Sachb cher ber ein gro es Spektrum hinweg einen Namen gemacht und wird von vielen besonders f r sein Talent, die witzigsten Geschichten und Fakten ausfindig zu machen, sowie seinen trockenen Humor geliebt Ich muss gestehen, dass ich bisher au er Notes From a Small Island nichts von ihm gelesen habe was aber nicht an mangelndem Interesse liegt, sondern an der berw ltigenden Anzahl von B chern, die ich unbedingt bald lesen muss.Der Titel des Buchs Made in [...]

  9. What bothered me in The Mother Tongue was irritating in this companion piece the laundry lists of words categorized in catch all bins Exhausting for this reader Also, this time, Bryson s blithe and breezy commentary seemed less witty and shallow He appears determined to shoot down myths of American cultural history, but looking at the footnotes, the research is weak One example Bryson dismisses Zane Grey as a New York dentist who knew almost nothing of the West but refused to let that get in t [...]

  10. Para quem gosta de hist ria como eu e tem sempre curiosidade por saber de onde v m as coisas ent o este definitivamente um livro que v o gostar Tenho a sensa o de que acabei de ler uma enciclop dia Desde os colonos at ao nosso s culo h tanta refer ncia a tanta coisa Pessoas, palavras, express es, comidas, locais, objetivosum mundo de conhecimento ao nosso disp r e de forma acess vel para mim um dos melhores do Bill Bryson e com muito mais ritmo e interesse a meu ver do que Notas da Pequena Ilha [...]

  11. Funny, interesting and informative One fact that sticks with me is that every town in America had its own time until the railroad decided clock time needed to be standardized What that has to do with American English I don t remember, but that s how Bryson s writing is there are lots of fascinating side stories.

  12. From the author who consistently manages to write the exact sort of nonfiction I enjoy comes a history of American, that very specific form of linguistic mutilation bestowed upon proper English by our fair nation This isn t just a linguistic study though, this is very much an American history book told from a perspective of a linguist and or etymologist While American history doesn t interest me all that much which didn t preclude me from learning about as much as a person can about it through b [...]

  13. This is one of those books that takes you quite a while to read, but not because its slow The information contained in the 400 odd pages is simply too much to digest in one go Bryson takes us from the 1500s till the early 1990s, taking us through each and every American thing there is in between Funny thing is, this is meant to be a book on the evolution of American English, but it is also one about history I learnt about American history, or rather, what made America what it is today, from thi [...]

  14. I love Bill Bryson His narratives are rich with cultural tidbits and historical wonders Unfortunately, this book crawled I felt like I was on a car ride with my favorite uncle who told a bunch of amusing anecdotes that were amusing when we were just on the way to the beach, but became insufferable on a long, cross country drive Good in small doses The tidbits are great But boy, it was hard to stick with this one.

  15. Although I don t live in America, it is obvious that they have had a big influence on the English language Bill Bryson s Made In America explores the history of America and the effects it had on the language I found the most interesting parts to do with censorship in America, from titbit becoming tidbit, cockroach becoming roach and to the extreme case of political correction which wanted to stop the use of terms like blackeye and blacksmith but interestingly enough, not blackout I feel I ve gai [...]

  16. Another wonderful Bryson book I simply adore his writing style His books are like candy The one detraction from this book is the length I wish that this was a history of the US, instead of a history of the English language in the US Some of the etymology is truly interesting, but the long lists of words and fixation of spelling variances throughout history are tedious If this was taken out or slimmed down it would be a much better book Even so, this is a really enjoyable book as underneath is a [...]

  17. Oh my gosh I finally finished this book It s not that it was a bad book It actually was quite informative and entertaining I have read many Bryson books and I know he is a detailed guy but this book was the king of detail Kind of a slog at times Lots of cool facts though, if only I could remember them.

  18. Much, MUCH, MUCH than a history of the English language in America Bryson with magical and funny writing links the evolution of language with the evolution of culture, science, recreation, food, politics His controversial or almost heretical debunkings of accepted history are supported with an extensive bibliography of the sources.The debunking is endless Barely a page was turned that didn t leave me amazed at how much I don t know, and just how far away from documented history is the accepted [...]

  19. Considering how crucial it is to our every day lives, we know precious little about language Where certain words come from, why they are used in specific ways, etc Take OK for instance the most famous English phrase in the world, and perhaps American English s most lasting and pervasive contribution to English usage ever and no one knows exactly where it came from There are ideas, of course, ranging from a 19th century campaign slogan to a possible West African origin via slavery But astonishing [...]

  20. 3 Stars GoodThe PremiseBill Bryson takes a trip through the history of America in an attempt to identify and explain some of the origins and peculiarities behind phrases and popular words.Pros and ConsPositives The book is well structured and follows a winding path through the american vocabulary, using a good range of themes to guide the reader through the development of the American language Where this book excels is when it combines rich explanations of certain vocabulary with a brief rundown [...]

  21. As much as I love Bill Bryson s writing, I found it reeeeeeeeeally difficult to get through Made in America I learned a lot of interesting facts and the book did clear up some misconceptions I had, but it didn t make up for the fact that some of the sections in this book were incredibly boring I know that the book was primarily supposed to be about the origins of everyday words and phrases, but sometimes it felt like Bryson went a bit overboard It felt like I was reading a dictionary, and had I [...]

  22. This book is kind of like A Short History of Nearly Everything About American History, structured around etymology In other words, it s awesome One of the enjoyable Bill Bryson books I ve read, mostly because I don t have to read about him whining while traveling I ll always hang onto my copy of it to reference Here s just a few of the myriad of things I learned from this book The term ham actor was coined because lesser actors used to use ham fat to remove their make up, rather than cold cream [...]

  23. This is the second book about the history of English by Bill Bryson I ve read This one, however, is laser focused on how English evolved once people started speaking it over here in the good ol U.S of A Turns out, just like all his other books, it s a whirlwind of historical trivia I personally didn t enjoy this one as much as the previous book about English because the language itself wasn t formed here, so this is of a history of the unique vocabulary and idioms used here in the states I d al [...]

  24. This book is advertised as a history of the English language in the United States But readers who primarily want to know about the trends of English in America, about its broader causes and effects, will only feel satisfied with this book about 50% of the time When Bryson uses vocabulary examples to support larger narratives or points, he s brilliant When was American English adapted from British English losing doth and liveth , how was it altered by different eras of immigration, and what does [...]

  25. This book, as it took me about half of it to finally grasp the concept, is a history of pretty much how the US came to be, from the pilgrims and the Mayflower and then right down to the space age For me the book for pretty slow starting The chapters about the founding fathers of America was pretty tough because a lot of the writing relied upon prior knowledge of the subject, of which I have very little, but past that, this book is typical Bryson.Funny whilst unbelievably informing this book is t [...]

  26. twowheeledrambler As is the case with all Brysons, this is a delightfully light read, despite having a seemingly boring topic and than 400 pages If you re a language or history nerd, though, it s a veritable feast.In many ways, parallels can be drawn between Made in America and A Short History of Nearly Everything Like in Short History, Bryson has kept the pacing engaging by not dawdling on needless intricacies of the subject Virtually never is there too much information He elaborates upon the [...]

  27. In Made in America , Bill Bryson romps through American culture as he uncovers the history of the English language pertaining to specific eras and segments of society As one might expect, the formation of language peculiarities is an excuse for Bryson to tour the unusual in American history There s great information in every chapter per marital sex was common and expected in Puritan America along with litanies of slang Noah s Boy was a slice of ham d that burn one or grease spot designated a ham [...]

  28. This ended up being much of a straightforward history book than I expected It rambled pleasantly and expansively through American history, pausing frequently to examine origins of common words and expressions.I was surprised at how clearly Bryson s political views shone through the text, but since those views liberal, populist generally agreed with mine, that was a plus in my eyes Few things are quite so gratifying as reading a book or even a bumper sticker that states your own opinion better t [...]

  29. Bill Bryson is a humorous author who typically write gently comic travel books, that draw heavily on his bewilderment at modern life, and its incongruities On occasion he changes directions, writing books about history, and Shakespeare, for example, while maintaining his humorous approach to the subject matter.This books is one of this direction changes Here, he looks at the history of English in his native America He addresses a variety of issues, and looks at a variety of times So he talks abo [...]

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