A celebration of the huge linguistic diversity that is open to all of us at birth, and that has inspired and fascinated humans since the invention of speech.
This is a book about languages and the people who love them.
Sophie Hardach is here to guide us through the strange and wonderful ways that humans have used languages throughout history. She takes us from the earliest Mesopotamian clay tablets and the 'book cemeteries' of medieval synagogues to the first sounds a child hears in their mother's womb and their incredible capacity for language learning. Along the way, Hardach explores the role of trade in transmitting words across cultures and untangles riddles of hieroglyphics, cuneiform and the ancient scripts of Crete and Cyprus. This is a book about languages, the people who love them and the linguistic threads that connect us all.
'Impeccably researched and engagingly presented ... Sophie Hardach tells wonderful stories about words that have travelled vast distances in space and time to make English what it is' David Bellos, author of Is That a Fish in Your Ear? Translation and the Meaning of Everything