Saturday, 10 May 2008

it's only words. innit?

Just finished the very enjoyable read of Melvyn Bragg's "The Adventure of English". Thanks to Mr Bragg for a fascinating and diverting journey through the origins, highs, lows, and possible future/s of the English language; and thanks to my good friend who gave me the book for Christmas (2006!)

Among the serious learnèd bits you still get the twinkle in Bragg's eye:
... the complicated English tag system - 'have you?', 'haven't you?', 'could you?', 'couldn't you?', 'won't you?', 'didn't you?' - will most certainly be simplified, Professor David Crystal thinks. His bet is that 'nesspa?' could replace the lot of them. Innit?

In an earlier review for The Guardian, John Mullan comments on the book's weakness in expert authority, but affirms that it's a pithy, accessible narrative. It certainly informed and entertained me.