Sorry, this site requires JavaScript enabled.
Head of Zeus
Languages Are Good For Us
Languages Are Good For Us by Sophie Hardach

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 book opens with the first sounds a child hears in their mother's womb and their capacity for quickly learning more than one language. Hardach explores how this capacity has always been a necessary and normal aspect of human behaviour, from the earliest evidence of writing in different languages on Mesopotamian clay tablets to the role of trade in transmitting words across cultures and continents through families of multilingual merchants.

She takes us into the 'book cemeteries' of medieval synagogues; describes the riddles of hieroglyphics and cuneiform, and the long struggle to decipher them; discovers the enigmatic lost language of Cypro-Minoan Britain; and reminds us, in an era of resurgent nationalism, that in the British Isles many languages have mingled in fruitful and fascinating ways.

This is a book about languages and the people who love them. It is about the strange and wonderful ways in which humans have used languages since the days of the earliest clay records. About the linguistic threads that connect us all. Above all, it is about pleasure.

Head of Zeus, an Apollo book * Language and Literary Studies
07 Jan 2021 * 368pp * £18.99 * 9781789543926
'Sophie Hardach tells wonderful stories about words that have travelled vast distances in space and time to make English what it is. Impeccably researched and engagingly presented, this fascinating book shows how languages arise, grow, borrow, mix and blend. If you aren't sure what the point of learning another language is, then you need to read this book!'
David Bellos, author of Is That a Fish in Your Ear? Translation and the Meaning of Everything
Sophie Hardach
Sophie Hardach
Sophie Hardach is the author of three novels, The Registrar's Manual for Detecting Forced Marriages, about Kurdish refugees, Of Love and Other Wars, about pacifists during World War Two, and Confession with Blue Horses, about the repercussions of the division of Germany on the lives of individuals. Also a journalist, she worked as a correspondent for Reuters news agency in Tokyo, Paris and Milan and and has written for a number of publications including the Guardian, BBC Future and The Economist. Her first non-fiction book, Languages Are Good For Us, was published by Head of Zeus in 2021.
ALSO BY Sophie Hardach
Confession with Blue Horses
The Registrar's Manual for Detecting Forced Marriages
Of Love and Other Wars
May We Borrow Your Language?
Why Will No-One Publish My Novel?
Craic Baby
Languages Are Good For Us