Lingo : A Language Spotter's Guide to Europe

3.92 (3,221 ratings by Goodreads)
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Welcome to Europe as you've never known it before, seen through the peculiarities of its languages and dialects. Combining linguistics and cultural history, Gaston Dorren takes us on an intriguing tour of the continent, from Proto-Indo-European (the common ancestor of most European languages) to the rise and rise of English, via the complexities of Welsh plurals and Czech pronunciation. Along the way we learn why Esperanto will never catch on, how the language of William the Conqueror lives on in the Channel Islands and why Finnish is the easiest European language.

Surprising, witty and full of extraordinary facts, this book will change the way you think about the languages around you. Polyglot Gaston Dorren might even persuade you that English is like Chinese.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 18mm | 255g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • 9781781254172
  • 25,695

Review Text

Through sixty compelling stories about European linguistics, it tells us an impressive amount about Europe ... An entertaining, accessible guide. FT
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Review quote

Dorren has such a light touch and a brilliantly roving eye that every page is to be savoured, like a local delicacy. His book is a wonderful celebration of cultural as well as linguistic diversity. -- Alex Bellos * Best Books About Language, for The Week * Through sixty compelling stories about European linguistics, it tells us an impressive amount about Europe ... An entertaining, accessible guide. * FT * Dorren's tour of the continent is a richly diverting exercise. He has something interesting to point out about nearly every topic ... brilliant. * The Guardian * The depth and breadth of Dorren's understanding and knowledge are awesome. * The Times * A new approach to understanding the world ... ideal for any cunning linguist. * Wanderlust * Gaston Dorren offers an excellent overview of Europe's languages ... It's very enlightening, and very well done * NRC Handelsblad * Joyful ... Lingo is that rare thing: a book about language the manages to be both genuinely interesting and enormous fun. Particularly impressive is Dorren's ability to flip with ease from jokes and surprising facts to the discussion of complex linguistic ideas ... For the sadly monoglot, Lingo is a wake-up call: a book that brims with joy at linguistic variety and invention, and reminds us what he - and we - are missing -- John Gallagher * Sunday Telegraph Seven * Full of charm and pleasing detail ... [an] amusing tour of Europe's linguistic landscape * Spectator * I love this book. It's witty and informative, with a wealth of engaging comments on all things language-related on our continent ... highly amusing ... the book's mine of information, make[s] this a great seasonal stocking filler - whether you're a lingophile or not. * Morning Star * This year's sleeper Christmas hit ... an amiable and entertaining examination of European languages in all their idiosyncratic glory. * Belfast Telegraph * Full of odd linguistic facts ... fascinating * Times Literary Supplement * I can't praise it enough. If you ever wanted to know how exactly Finnish and Hungarian are related and how Turkish fits in, it is clearly explained here in two to three pages. And so is everything else you ever wanted to learn about European languages but were afraid to ask. Brilliant, witty, excellent! * Times Higher Education *
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About Gaston Dorren

Gaston Dorren has written two Dutch books on language and contributes regularly to Onze Taal, a popular linguistics magazine. 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.
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Rating details

3,221 ratings
3.92 out of 5 stars
5 27% (881)
4 43% (1,396)
3 24% (777)
2 4% (139)
1 1% (28)
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