You Say Potato

A Book About Accents

3.78 based on 151 ratings & 26 reviews on

Some people say scohn, while others say schown.

He says bath, while she says bahth.

You say potayto. I say potahto


-wait a second, no one says potahto. No one's ever said potahto.

Have they?

From reconstructing Shakespeare's accent to the rise and fall of Received Pronunciation, actor Ben Crystal and his linguist father David travel the world in search of the stories of spoken English.

Everyone has an accent, though many of us think we don't. We all have our likes and dislikes about the way other people speak, and everyone has something to say about 'correct' pronunciation. But how did all these accents come about, and why do people feel so strongly about them? Are regional accents dying out as English becomes a global language? And most importantly of all: what went wrong in Birmingham?

Witty, authoritative and jam-packed full of fascinating facts, You Say Potato is a celebration of the myriad ways in which the English language is spoken - and how our accents, in so many ways, speak louder than words.

About Ben Crystal

Ben Crystal is an actor, producer, and writer. He played Hamlet in the first Original Pronunciation production of the play for 400 years with the Nevada Repertory Company, and curated the British Library's CD, Shakespeare's Original Pronunciation. He co-wrote Shakespeare's Words and The Shakespeare Miscellany with his father, David Crystal, and his first solo book, Shakespeare on Toast: Getting a Taste for the Bard was shortlisted for the 2010 Educational Writer of the Year Award. He has also written a series of introductions to the Bard's plays - Springboard Shakespeare - was published by Bloomsbury / Arden. He and his Shakespeare ensemble perform and give Shakespeare workshops around the world.

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From our blogs

You Say Potato Accent Map

You Say Potato Accent Map

15 December 2015

By Pan Macmillan

Listen to how thousands of people around the world say the word 'potato'.