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.
Chris Hayden has been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.
|Page Count||320 pages|
|Publisher||Atlantic Monthly Press|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|
|Category||Science & Nature|