The English by Jeremy Paxman

The English by Jeremy Paxman – A Portrait of a People. The aim of the book was to talk about the English, not the British or Scots, Irish, or Welsh. I got this book from a second hand bookshop, one of two by him, and I was very eager to read it. I’m loving University Challenge, the TV show hosted by Paxman. Therefore, I was excited to read this book.

The English by Jeremy Paxman

I found the book interesting, but, at times, the point was so unrealistic that some parts of the book are pointless. For instance, he talks about le vice anglais (sadomasochism) as there is any kind of importance to this. I would have imagined is needless to say that sadomasochism is not particular to a nation. Another thing I wasn’t impressed with was his thoughts about English, as a language. He said that is not owned by the English any more because other people that speak it natively or not changed it. How is that relevant? I’m Romanian, my first language is Romanian, but in my jobs in a marketing company and in IT companies, I’ve used lots of neologisms that come from English. For example, the marketing word in Romanian is… marketing, and the list can go on and on and on with words such as laptop, mouse, rate card, discount, business, barter, target, keyword, deadline, shell-company, job, software, ok, cash flow, flyer, management, rating. One might be in a business meeting (another word used in Romanian business all around Bucharest) and would think the people speak in English and not in Romanian. Does this mean that Romanian have lost their language and identity? I don’t think so. It’s just common sense not to translate everything and use the industry-standard.

There are interesting aspects in the book and I would recommend it for that. But, overall, the book is a bit too long and not as enjoyable as I was expecting it to be.

The English by Jeremy Paxman

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 3/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: –
Published by: Penguin Books
Year it was published: 1999
Format: Paperback
Genre(s): Philosophy? I can’t include it in history and it is a long thinking process about what Englishness means.
Pages: 308

About the author: Jeremy Dickson Paxman is a British journalist, author, and television presenter. He has worked for the BBC for over 40 years. He is noted for a forthright and abrasive interviewing style, particularly when interrogating politicians. His regular appearances on the BBC2’s Newsnight programme have been criticised as aggressive, intimidating, condescending and irreverent, and applauded as tough and incisive.
Books by Jeremy Paxman: Empire; Great Britain’s Great War; The Victorians; Friends In High Places.
Website & Social Media Links: –

2 thoughts on “The English by Jeremy Paxman”

  • This is probably not one for me. I bet he had some things to say about the English spoken by Americans, too. (which can vary greatly regionally)

    • I don’t think he said something about English spoken by Americans or at least I don’t remember.

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