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Babel: Around the World in Twenty Languages
 

Babel: Around the World in Twenty Languages (Paperback, Main)

By Dorren, Gaston

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If you were to master the twenty languages discussed in Babel, you could talk with three quarters of the world's population. But what makes these languages stand out amid the world's estimated 6,500 tongues? Gaston Dorren delves deep into the linguistic oddities and extraordinary... read full description below.

ISBN 9781781256411
Barcode 9781781256411
Published 3 September 2019 by Profile Books Ltd
Format Paperback, Main
Alternate Format(s) View All (6 other possible title(s) available)
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Internationally sourced (OOS locally); ships 6-12 working days

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Full details for this title

ISBN-13 9781781256411
ISBN-10 1781256411
Stock Available
Status Internationally sourced (OOS locally); ships 6-12 working days
Publisher Profile Books Ltd
Imprint Profile Books Ltd
Publication Date 3 September 2019
International Publication Date 1 August 2019
Publication Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Format Paperback, Main
Edition Main
Author(s) By Dorren, Gaston
Category Language & Linguistics
Literary & Linguistic Reference Works
Humour
Number of Pages 368
Dimensions Width: 129mm
Height: 198mm
Spine: 22mm
Weight 307g
Interest Age General Audience
Reading Age General Audience
Library of Congress Historical linguistics
NBS Text Linguistics
ONIX Text General/trade
Dewey Code 417.7
Catalogue Code 990733

Description of this Book

If you were to master the twenty languages discussed in Babel, you could talk with three quarters of the world's population. But what makes these languages stand out amid the world's estimated 6,500 tongues? Gaston Dorren delves deep into the linguistic oddities and extraordinary stories of these diverse lingua francas, tracing their origins and their sometimes bloody rise to greatness. He deciphers their bewildering array of scripts, presents the gems and gaps in their vocabularies and charts their coinages and loans. He even explains how their grammars order their speakers' worldview. Combining linguistics and cultural history, Babel takes us on an intriguing tour of the world, addressing such questions as how tiny Portugal spawned a major world language and Holland didn't, why Japanese women talk differently from men, what it means for Russian to be 'related' to English, and how non-alphabetic scripts, such as those of India and China, do the same job as our 26 letters. Not to mention the conundrums of why Vietnamese has four forms for 'I', or how Tamil pronouns keep humans and deities apart. Babel will change the way you look at the world and how we all speak.

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Awards, Reviews & Star Ratings

NZ Review Eye-opening and thoroughly entertaining ... [Dorren] is wonderful company: chatty, informative, enthusiastic. -- Laura Freeman * The Times * Hugely readable ... Dorren is both an intimidatingly gifted linguist and a wonderfully eloquent writer. You couldn't wish for a better guide to the wonders of the world's bewildering array of tongues. -- Simon Griffith * Mail on Sunday *
UK Review Bertrams Star Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

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Author's Bio

Gaston Dorren is the author of Lingo, a book on European languages that, as the Telegraph put it, is 'both genuinely interesting and enormous fun [with his] impressive ability to flip with ease from jokes and surprising facts to the discussion of complex linguistic ideas'. He is a regular contributor to the popular linguistics magazine Onze Taal, and edits the Language Writer blog. A true polyglot, Gaston speaks Dutch, Limburgish, English, German and Spanish, and reads French, Afrikaans, Frisian, Portuguese, Italian, Catalan, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Luxembourgish and Esperanto. While writing Babel, he also tried to learn Vietnamese.

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