Who is King Alfred and what exactly does he have to do with the English language anyway? This was my immediate response to the title of Laurie J. White’s book — King Alfred’s English: A History of the Language We Speak and Why We Should Be Glad We Do. King Alfred’s English does not disappoint. Not only does the book explain who King Alfred is, it explains why English would never have become without his influence. In fact, the book goes many steps beyond King Alfred.
Included in the pages of King Alfred’s English is an overview of the history of the English language from it’s humble Anglo-Saxon beginnings to present day. Also included are an introduction of language study, an overview of the the apologetics of the Bible which are founded on language study, and brief overviews of individual literary works as they influenced the development of our English language.
I confess, I have always been a lover of words. From my early years as a voracious reader to my later years as a singer of five languages and as a latin student, words have always been my friend. As a lover of English and a lover of languages I was predisposed to like this book.
As a mom of six children, I have to tell you I am making this book mandatory reading starting this year with my seventh grader. I think it explains so much. Like why English is so very hard to spell. Like why we have so many words that mean exactly the same thing or at least nearly the same thing. Like why the King James Bible changed the world in more ways then one. Like why my children will be required to study Shakespeare even though my husband is not a fan. Like why I am allowed to break grammar rules on this blog. (Shakespeare didn’t need rules for grammar!)
My Bottom Line: This book is intended for grades 7 through 12 and the curious adult. It will be mandatory reading for my children. If you love to read, speak or write in the English language you should read this book too. I am glad I did.