A Natural History of Language
A wonderful guided tour of language, as sharp and thought-provoking as Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct and as entertaining and Bill Bryson's Mother Tongue.
There can be few subjects of such widespread interest and fascination to anyone who reads as the strange ways of languages. In this wonderfully entertaining and fascinating book, John McWhorter introduces us to 'the natural history of language': from Russonorsk, a creole of Russian and Norwegian once spoken by trading fur trappers to an Australian Aboriginal language which only has three verbs. Witty, brilliant and authoritative, this book is a must for anyone who is interested in language, as sheerly enjoyable as non-fiction gets.
“'McWhorter relishes the world of pidgins, Creoles, dialects and slang... His enthusiasm is infectious'”
“'A frisky observer of the linguistic scene'”
Keith Waterhouse in the Daily Mail
“'The breathless tour of linguistic oddities from around the globe has its own empirical delight... McWhorter is a kind of linguistic David Attenborough... The fascination is in his detail, the sheer case-by-case weirdness of languages'”