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 explores languages, and multilingualism, as an expression of human creativity and identity, and a way to connect in an often fractured world – a necessary and important pursuit in these politically divided times. British people are especially prone to anxiety about our poor command of foreign languages. The book's chapters roughly follow the trajectory of a human life, tracing our relationship with language from the first muffled sounds we hear in the womb, to the comfort and companionship it can provide in old age. The author weaves together her own experiences of language as the mother of a multilingual child and explores the science and history of speech. In this way, Languages Are Good For You offers a unique perspective on a subject that affects us all. Those who loved Lynne Truss' Eat Shoots & Leaves – which sold close to a million copies – will devour Hardach's book, which fills a major gap in the market.
Sophie Hardach is a German novelist who writes in English. She speaks Italian, Spanish and French, and has studied Japanese, Chinese, Arabic and Hebrew with varying degrees of success. She lives in London.