Did you know that "silly" once meant "blessed"? Or that "ought" was the original past tense of "owe"? And have you ever wondered why some people from New Orleans sound as if they come from Brooklyn? Much as we sometimes feel like language is an arbitrary affair—or worse, deteriorating—the truth is different and a lot less scary, as the author of Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue shows in this delightful, eye-opening exploration of how English continues to evolve. Drawing examples from everyday life and employing a generous helping of humor, John McWhorter shows that changes in meaning and pronunciation are a natural process common to all languages, and that we should embrace and appreciate these changes.