Journeys In English

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CD cover.

Journeys In English is a radio program by Bill Bryson based on Bryson's book, The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way. The radio program was originally presented on BBC Radio 4 in 1997, but the program was released to home audio on 2004-02-02. The program documents the history and probable future of the English language by interviewing with various linguists and narrating facts about the language.


I do not own this program, but I have listened to it.



  • Overall, I enjoyed this program a lot.
  • The contrast between various English accents and the reason non-native speakers have an accent is really interesting.
  • I like the attempt linguists made at recreating the sound of Old English and tracing back the language to its pre-English ancestors.
  • I liked hearing arguments both for and against the artificial standardization of language.


  • As a radio program, it wasn't possible, but I would have loved to see visual aids regarding the evolution of the English language and the writing systems.
  • The program wasn't as dry as I'd like. I wish there were more information and more examples rather than banter.
  • A bit too much of the program talked about English exceptionalism.


  • Nothing.