The Prodigal Tongue


by Murphy, Lynne | English
Paperback | 368 pages

SKU: '9781786074973 Category:


‘The first and perhaps only book on the relative merits of American and British English that is dominated by facts and analysis rather than nationalistic prejudice. For all its scholarship, this is also a funny and rollicking read.’The Economist, Books of the Year Only an American would call autumn fall or refer to a perfectly good pavement as a sidewalk… Not so, says Lynne Murphy. The English invented sidewalk in the seventeenth century and in 1693 John Dryden wrote the line, ‘Or how last fall he raised the weekly bills.’Perhaps we don’t know our own language quite as well as we thought.

Murphy, an American linguist in Britain, dissects the myths surrounding British and American English in a laugh-out-loud exploration of how language works and where it’s going.