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5 Stars Out Of 5
This book is a treasure chest of history!
September 2, 2014
Have you ever laughed out loud when reading a history book? If you have, then you've been reading the delightful KING ALFRED'S ENGLISH: A History of the Language We Speak and Why We Should Be Glad We Do by Laurie J. White. White, in her casual style, traces the history of the English language from the days of Julius Caesar to the present. Here's her summation of the people groups who had the most influence on the English language, giving it a larger vocabulary than any other language on earth: "When English arrived in England, it was a lean, trim, meaty stock of Anglo-Saxon words. Then over the centuries it feasted on Latin and Norse, gorged on French, and chased down the whole meal with a fizzy swig of Greek and a fresh twist of Latin during the Renaissance."
In KING ALFRED'S ENGLISH, you'll get an entertaining history of England and Western Europe, an intriguing record of the development of the Bible, and a greater appreciation of the language that brings you the word "bodacious," named for a bold Celtic queen. Where else can you learn the funny reason capital letters are called "upper case," why cow meat is called "beef," why someone was burned at the stake for translating the Bible into English, why we say "Let there be light" instead of "Let there be illumination," and what the evidence is for divine design even in language. And, yes, Shakespeare's name is embedded in the King James Version of the Bible, but is this on purpose?
KING ALFRED'S ENGLISH is suitable for homeschools as a textbook or as a supplement to English Literature or western history. Students desiring to know more about the invasions that pummeled the English language into its current shape will enjoy it, as will adults who have a linguistic bent and a love of language. Links to fascinating videos, articles, images, and literature related to each chapter can be found at White's website www.theshorterword.com.
Must-Have Book for Homeschoolers and Everyone Else
June 17, 2011
The author does a wonderful job explaining how the English language developed historically and linguistically, while making it interesting and fun to read. Doing this from a Christian world view perspective makes it a true treasure. I am reading it aloud to my 4th and 7th graders currently. The main point for the younger one is why and how the spelling of our language seems to have so many inconsistencies and exceptions to rules. This has helped my reluctant speller tremendously! I am having the older one do the worksheets and tests that are available free on the author's website. All 3 of us are immensely enjoying the discussions we are having. This is one of my all-time top recommended books for my homeschooling and non-homeschooling friends. I have personally learned so much.
A great addition to your teen's studies -and yours
March 21, 2011
What does King Alfred have to do with the English we speak today? Plenty and we should all be thankful for this King of 11 centuries ago.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading King Alfred's English: A History of the Language We Speak and Why We Should Be Glad We Do. It was a fun, quick and easy-to-read book, but one that packed a punch. I think teens will wish all their required subject reading was this enjoyable. Laurie White presents this subject, not in a dry, boring way, but as a living story that easily explains how we got from point A to point B. She does a great job of bringing understanding to basic historical events, just in case your not familiar with them. In other words, you don't have to have your history down pat ahead of time to understand the flow.
This book about the English Language really gives a great concise history of England itself. The invasions, the literature, and all that shaped the conglomeration we speak today. It also includes a good overview history of the English Bible, and the role it played in developing the language we all, Christian or not, speak. Laurie does a good job of showing the leading causes that led to the consequences that developed our language.
This book will be added to our children's required reading list, and I don't think they will mind at all. I suggest you add it to your high schooler's English course - and that you read it too. Not only will you learn some great useful information about the history of our language, those things will help you teach English also. You'll know why, things are the way they are. And you'll enjoy your reading time along the way. So will your students.
The author's website also includes free supplemental material for students working through this book. But I haven't checked that out yet.
I give five stars because it is absolutely fascinating. My 15 year old and 12 year old are really enjoying it. If you have studied the middle ages before, this ties it all together. We are printing out the quizes etc. from the website.
My caution goes to the mention of movies in the text and website. Readers have the assumption that these flicks are recommended viewing. Please, moms, check out the movies before letting kids see them. Titles are mentioned by the author with no caveat as to content. Braveheart has nudity, Gladiator contains incest. Go to a website like www.kidsinmind.com before your kids view these movies.
Having said that, I would HIGHLY recommend this book.
I'm no History or English student and didn't know what to expect, but truly enjoyed this book. It answered a lot of questions that I didn't even realize that I had and made so much sense out of a very complicated period of time. I'm retired and I highly recommend this book, no matter what your age, 7th Grade and up.