LEIGH FORBES: Books of all Sorts

You Say Potato: the Story of English Accents

by Ben Crystal and David Crystal.

A light-hearted, but informative look at the English accents, not just throughout the UK, but across the English-speaking world. Alternating between the authors, the book discusses not just the huge range of accents, but their history, development, and potential future.

With half a dozen or so words used to illustrate each accent, it was often possible to ‘hear’ the differences, particularly where I was already familiar with a particular region. But where I wasn’t, I would have loved to see phonetic spelling used to construct whole sentences (rather than just single words).

A good read – I particularly enjoyed the attention paid to Shakespeare’s original pronounciation. Laugh-out-loud funny in places, I recommend this to any lover of English.

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