By John Mcwhorter

ISBN-10: 1592403956

ISBN-13: 9781592403950

A survey of the quirks and quandaries of the English language, targeting our unusual and lovely grammar

Why will we say “I am interpreting a catalog” rather than “I learn a catalog”? Why will we say “do” in any respect? Is the best way we converse a mirrored image of our cultural values? Delving into those provocative subject matters and extra, Our excellent Bastard Language distills hundreds of thousands of years of interesting lore into one full of life history.

overlaying such turning issues because the little-known Celtic and Welsh impacts on English, the impression of the Viking raids and the Norman Conquest, and the Germanic invasions that began all of it through the 5th century advert, John McWhorter narrates this colourful evolution with power. Drawing on innovative genetic and linguistic examine in addition to a cache of outstanding minutiae concerning the origins of English phrases and syntax styles, Our great Bastard Tongue finally demonstrates the arbitrary, maddening nature of English— and its ironic simplicity as a result of its position as a streamlined lingua franca in the course of the early formation of england. this can be the booklet that language aficionados around the globe were anticipating (and no, it’s now not a sin to finish a sentence with a preposition).

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Additional resources for Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English

Sample text

Spicca inoltre la posizione eccentrica dell’isola linguistica francoprovenzale di Faeto (P. 715)36, situata in Puglia. La tavola 4 (relativa al francese standard) rivela l’inserzione del tipo geolinguistico francese nel contesto italo-, sardo- e retoromanzo. Non stupiscono i fatti seguenti: (1) la presenza privilegiata (con valori di similarità situati sopra la media aritmetica) del geotipo francese a nord della fascia La Spezia-Rimini (ad eccezione del Veneto e dell’Istria nonché di alcuni poligoni periferici nei Grigioni (Rumantschia) e nel Comèlico, (2) l’insediamento di tassi di similarità particolarmente alti nella Valle d’Aosta e nelle vallate occitaniche del Piemonte (P.

Per una miglior comprensione della tavola 20 giova anche l’idea metaforica che ciascuno dei 970 triangoli funge da ‘tubo’ posto tra due località contigue, nel quale corrono ‘flussi’ di similarità di varia intensità. Come nel caso della sinossi dei valori massimi bisogna però aggiungere che, dal punto di vista tassometrico, l’analisi interpuntuale è piuttosto superficiale. In effetti, i 970 valori interpuntuali rappresentano, sui 72771 valori delle rispettive matrici di distanza o di similarità, solo 1,33% della totalità delle informazioni quantitative disponibili.

Questo programma è stato eseguito in maniera esemplare soprattutto dall’esploratore Paul Scheuermeier che, grazie ad una sensibilità straordinaria per la realtà etnografica nonché animato da esimie doti personali, ci ha fornito non solo i rilevamenti trascritti e depositati negli otto volumi in foglio dell’AIS ed i due volumi del ‘Bauernwerk’ (Scheuermeier 1943 e 1956) accompagnati da una fitta serie di scritti minori ricchi di appunti ed osservazioni dettagliati12, ma anche circa 4500 fotografie di altissimo valore documentario, archiviate e conservate in perfetta qualità all’Università di Berna.

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Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English by John Mcwhorter


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