Babel: Around the World in Twenty Languages
Babel: Around the World in Twenty Languages by Gaston Dorren explores the twenty most spoken languages of the world detailing a few of their idiosyncrasies, grammar, history, and geography. Since each language, of itself, could have several books written about each aspect of language, it cannot possibly explore them all in its three hundred forty pages.
This is a book that gives the flavor of the languages. The precise use of pronouns that illustrates gender and/or status in the most languages, the unbelievable, (to an English speaker) variations in tone that make up tone-based native tongues, or the multiculturalism of some African speech are gist for the author’s mill. He also finds amusing parts of each language, those little facts that may not make much sense but are still important to the speakers. The author, not a native English speaker, speaks many of the languages listed, can understand others, and has attempted to learn still others which gives him a multi-lingual perspective. He speaks to why, geographically one language, such as Portuguese, is preferred over another or why modern Turks cannot read or understand the Turkish of just two hundred years ago. It is an entertaining book, especially if the reader likes communication and has an interest in the why and how peoples of the world speak to each other.
After editing at City Book Review for a few years, I took up the duties of editorial assistant, which include assigning books for review, posting reviews to our various sites, and nagging reviewers for things. In my non-nagging time, I’m a gamer, artist, writer, and notorious black thumb/bane of plants. My answer to every book-related question: read Octavia Butler.
|Page Count||320 pages|
|Publisher||Atlantic Monthly Press|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|
|Category||Science & Nature|