Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue Audiobook By John McWhorter cover art
Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue Audiobook
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Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue Audiobook



by John McWhorter

  • Narrated by: John McWhorter
  • Length: 5 hrs and 22 mins
  • Release date: 11-03-09
  • Language: English


A survey of the quirks and quandaries of the English language, focusing on our strange and wonderful grammar. Why do we say “I am reading a catalog” instead of “I read a catalog”? Why do we say “do” at all? Is the way we speak a reflection of our cultural values? Delving into these provocative topics and more, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue distills hundreds of years of fascinating lore into one lively history.

Covering such turning points as the little-known Celtic and Welsh influences on English, the impact of the Viking raids and the Norman Conquest, and the Germanic invasions that started it all during the fifth century A.D., John McWhorter narrates this colorful evolution with vigor.

Drawing on revolutionary genetic and linguistic research, as well as a cache of remarkable trivia about the origins of English words and syntax patterns, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue ultimately demonstrates the arbitrary, maddening nature of English – and its ironic simplicity due to its role as a streamlined lingua franca during the early formation of Britain. This is the book that language aficionados worldwide have been waiting for. (And no, it’s not a sin to end a sentence with a preposition.)

Additional information


John McWhorter




5 hrs and 22 mins

Narrated by

John McWhorter

Release date



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