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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

TOS Review: King Alfred's English

This could possibly be one of the coolest books ever.  King Alfred's English: A History of the Language We Speak And Why We Should Be Glad We Do by Laurie J. White is a treasure for those interested in not only our English language, but also the history that goes along with it.

I enjoyed reading this book for many reasons.  I learned so many new things such as:
1) Words with silent letters such as "knife" and "light" use to be pronounced with all letters.  It wasn't until people wanted to sound refined and smooth like the French that they decided to drop some of the more gutteral sounds.
2)  Our language is comprised of many elements taken from Greek, Latin, Norse, French, and Old English roots.  This is why we have many words that mean essentially the same thing.
3)Though we tend to think that all things grow more complicated with time, language actually grows more simple.  Comparatively speaking, new languages are much more simple that ancient languages.

Because I have lately become more interested in the Reformation, I found White's sections on Martin Luther, William Tyndale, and King James particularly interesting.  She tells fact so freely and with such interesting, not staunch, vernacular that it even kept my fifth grader's attention!

Though sold as it should be directed toward late middle to high schoolers, I feel anyone interested in the history of the English language would greatly benefit and enjoy King Alfred's English.  White has a website called The Shorter Word where you can find free student pages and teacher materials for using King Alfred's English as a curriculum. If you'd like to purchase the book, CBD has it for the lowest price of $14.89 and you can also see an excerpt.  If you are really interested in purchasing this book, I have a 50% off code I can share with the first 5 people to leave a comment that they'd like it below!

As always, if you'd like to hear other Review Crewers' opinions.......
Click to read Crew Reviews

Disclaimer: I was given an ebook of King Alfred's English in exchange for an honest and objective review.


Cherry Family said...

Just when I thought I was finish purchasing books for this school year....Wow! This books looks amazing. Perfect for our studies this year as we are beginning with Creation - 1400 AD. Perfect! I have to check this book out. Thanks for the review -- so encouraging that I don't have to wait to high school.

Karen Cunningham said...

Ooo I want the discount! I just read "Our Mother Tongue" and it had interesting history of English on the side. I want more and this sounds perfect. (That's where I learned that "thou" is the casual form of the more formal "you", not the other way around.)