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Publisher: Perennial / Harper Collins
Release Date: 10/23/2001 - Reprint
ISBN: 0-380-71381-0
Format Reviewed: Paperback
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Genre:   Non-fiction / language
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Carisa Weeaks
Reviewer Notes:  

Made In America
An Informal History of the English Language in the United States
By Bill Bryson

      You speak it. I speak it. We all speak some form of it. The English language is the most common language in the United States. Although languages like Spanish are slowly making a rise in the U.S., English is still the most used in basic public interactions. It’s hard to think that the words and phrases that are constantly used everyday came about years and years before in someplace where they meant something completely different. Bryson’s book, Made In America, gives us an unceremonious look at the history of the English language and how it morphed into the dialect of English currently spoken in the U.S. today.

      Being an English major, 95% of my basic thinking revolves around the English language. Whether it be writing a review or talking to a customer through the drive-thru window at work, I use it without considering just how much it changes on a daily basis. Bryson explains the change of meanings of words that end up becoming an intricate part of modern-day slang (i.e. “cool” from being a reference to the temperature to “cool” as in something that is accepted and admired by one’s peers). It was slow going at first, but the interesting information that I have to admit is sometimes unexpected kept me glued to the pages. A definite must-have for anyone who is interested in where the strange slang the people around us speak, without even noticing how its changes come from.