There are only two problems with the story of the English
language: one, no hero. Two, not rude enough. In The Rude Story
of English, recovering lexicographer Tom Howell swiftly
remedies these and gives us a rousing account of our language -
without all the boring bits and with all the interesting parts kept
in - and reveals English's boisterous, at times obnoxious,
From a haphazard beginning in 449 AD, when a legendary, fearsome
Germanic warrior named Hengest tripped and fell onto British
shores, the real story of English has been rife with accident,
physical comedy, phallic monuments, rude behaviour, dubious
facts, and an alarming quantity of poetry written by lawyers.
Across vast distances of space and time, from the language's
origins to its fast-approaching retirement, a moody and
miraculously long-lived Hengest voyages to the pubs of Chaucer's
London, aboard pirate ships in the north Atlantic, to plantations
in Barbados, bookstores in Jamaica, the chilly inlet of Quidi Vidi,
Newfoundland, a private men's club in Australia, and beyond.
Part Monty Python sketch, part Oxford English Dictionary,
The Rude Story of English displays an exuberant love of
language and a sharp, anti-authoritarian sense of humour.
Entertaining and informative, it looks at English through its most
uncomfortable, colourful, and off-putting parts, chronicling the
story of the language as it has never been told before.