The Mother Tongue (ISBN 0-380-71543-0) is a book by Bill Bryson which compiles the history and origins of the English language and the language's various quirks. It is subtitled English And How It Got That Way. The book discusses the Indo-European origins of English, the growing status of English as a global language, the complex etymology of English words, the dialects of English, spelling reform, prescriptive grammar, and more minor topics including swearing. Bryson's account is a popularization of the subject; accordingly, it has been criticised for its inaccuracies, perpetuation of several urban myths, including an uncritical account of the number of words Eskimos have for snow. It has also been described as out-dated.
This book has also been published in Great Britain by Penguin Books under the title Mother Tongue: The English Language (ISBN 0-14-014305-X).
Bryson has since followed up this work with Made in America.