• The Adventure of English

  • The Biography of a Language
  • By: Melvyn Bragg
  • Narrated by: Robert Powell
  • Length: 12 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Release date: 08-25-05
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • 4.1 (2,638 ratings)

Regular price: $20.99

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Publisher's Summary

This is the remarkable story of the English language; from its beginnings as a minor guttural Germanic dialect to its position today as a truly established global language. The Adventure of English is not only an enthralling story of power, religion, and trade, but also the story of people, and how their lives continue to change the extraordinary language that is English.
©2003 Melvyn Bragg; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Both entertaining and informative." (Booklist)
"This 'biography' succeeds in its broad, sweeping narrative." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Leigh A on 10-21-05

Many Of Course monments

Highly recommend to anyone who loves our language, hates our language, or just wants to know where in the world did that come from. Be prepared for the book of lists as my wife called it, but it does not detract from the content. There are many times when you will hear the origin of the word or words and say of course, it makes sense now. This book shows that we speak a living history.

This book is the best example of an audiobook being better than the written word. The narrator does make the book.

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133 of 137 people found this review helpful

By Dorothea on 04-11-08

great listen

Already listened to this book twice and there will be more times to follow. It's a great listen. Especially enjoyed the chapters about the early and medieval history - fascinating.
The story is well written, witty, very informative and even thrilling (like history is). Since I am not English I am definitely not the one to criticise the reading - to my ears the narrator does a great job.
Could not have spent my monthly credit better!

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31 of 32 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Francis on 09-13-06

All the voices

This is not perhaps the most obvious choice for an audio book but it proves in fact to be an excellent work to listen to.Melvyn Bragg writes in a way that is a model of intelligent popularisation : without ever being either too technical or patronisingly simple he conveys much information about the history of the English language in a way that will entertain and instruct anyone with any degree of interest in the subject.Robert Powell -always a most competent and intelligent reader-copes superbly with what is often a difficult text.He manfully does his best to impart interest even to the long lists of words that occur in some chapters, but where he excels particularly is in the plausible rendition that he gives of the various dialects and languages related to English - his Frisian and Anglo-Saxon may or may not satisfy experts but they sound most convincing.He clearly enjoyed the challenge of conveying how differently English did and does sound. With such expert reading this is one of the occasions when an audio book has a distinct advantage over the silent printed text.If you have any interest in our language, you will enjoy this work and this reading.

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108 of 108 people found this review helpful

By Kirstine on 12-07-07

Outstandingly well-read and enjoyable journey

Melvyn Bragg writes in an accessible style well-suited to be read aloud. He has been well-served by the reader, Robert Powell, who has brought the book alive by his outstanding ability to pronounce all the variants of English that can only be depicted by phonetic symbols on the page. The use of the word 'Adventure' in the title is apposite as the book is as lively as a good historical novel.

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19 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Amazon Customer on 02-14-15

incredible story

This is an amazing account of the story of my language. I recommend this to everyone
who has the ability to think.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

By Readalot on 02-25-17

A Wonderful Adenture

If you could sum up The Adventure of English in three words, what would they be?

History, Culture, Fun

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Adventure of English?

The whole thing

What does Robert Powell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He has a lovely reading voice so it was a pleasure to listen.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No, but I smiled a lot.

Any additional comments?

A fascinating study for anyone interested in the English language in all its maddening contradiction and supreme flexibility.

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