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Made in America: An Informal History of the…

Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United… (original 1994; edition 2001)

by Bill Bryson (Author)

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3,473372,316 (3.81)59
Title:Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States
Authors:Bill Bryson (Author)
Info:William Morrow Paperbacks (2001), Edition: Reprint, 432 pages
Collections:Your library

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Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States by Bill Bryson (1994)

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Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
You’d think a history of Americanisms would be dry but that’s not the case here. Bryson keeps the tone light and entertaining with loads of anecdotes about the evolution of English in America. It’s the perfect companion to The Prodigal Tongue: The Love-Hate Relationship Between American and British English; they even share this striking quote from the 1815 North American Review,

“How tame will his language sound, who would describe Niagara in language fitted for the falls at London bridge, or attempt the majesty of the Mississippi in that which was made for the Thames?”

I was surprised that this didn’t feel very dated even though it was first published in 1994, and I found the last chapter, which included Bryson’s opinions about the bias-free language movement, to be the most thought provoking part of the book. ( )
  wandaly | Mar 11, 2019 |
If the author hadn't been Bill Bryson I may not have picked "Made in America" up. This is one of Bryson's lesser works (although his lesser works are still infinitely preferable to many authors' best works), covering how the English language has been shaped by America, from the Pilgrims to twenty years ago, when "Made in America" was published. ( )
  MiaCulpa | Jan 17, 2019 |
This is or seems to be, a long book - stay with it and read in small bits. And it's not just about linguistics. There's a lot of USA history here. And, it's the real history a la Howard Zinn or James Loewen. This is witty, academic Bryson at his best, not cheap, curmudgeonly traveler Bryson. ( )
  Sandydog1 | Dec 24, 2017 |
A very interesting compendium of classic Americana. Highly recommended and certainly not to be missed.
  danoomistmatiste | Jan 24, 2016 |
A very interesting compendium of classic Americana. Highly recommended and certainly not to be missed.
  kkhambadkone | Jan 17, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bill Brysonprimary authorall editionscalculated
McCall, BruceIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Roberts, WilliamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In the 1940s, a British traveller to Anholt, a small island fifty miles out in the Kattegat straight between Denmark and Sweden, noticed that the island children sang a piece of doggerel that was clearly nonsense to them.
As Jefferson put it: "The new circumstances under which we are placed, call for new words, new phrases, and for the transfer of old words to new objects".
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0380713810, Paperback)

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 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 more. 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 more.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:44 -0400)

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Traces America's history through language & culture.

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