Lingo: Around Europe in Sixty Languages (Paperback)

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Lingo: Around Europe in Sixty Languages By Gaston Dorren Cover Image
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I'm fascinated by language, but I've never been very adept at learning foreign languages. Dutch linguist/polyglot Dorren is clearly quite good at learning them (he claims to speak six and read an additional nine, and I have no reason to doubt him).  In sixty short chapters, he succeeds in telling us one or two (or more) really interesting things about each of sixty of the languages of Europe. All the biggies are here, of course, but think what a star you'll be at parties when you inject something about Galician, Romani, Manx, or Frisian into the conversation! I guarantee that the book's breezy, conversational style will draw you in if you're at all predisposed to the subject matter.

— From Barry


Whether you're a frequent visitor to Europe or just an armchair traveler, the surprising and extraordinary stories in Lingo will forever change the way you think about the continent, and may even make you want to learn a new language.

Lingo spins the reader on a whirlwind tour of sixty European languages and dialects, sharing quirky moments from their histories and exploring their commonalities and differences. Most European languages are descended from a single ancestor, a language not unlike Sanskrit known as Proto-Indo-European (or PIE for short), but the continent's ever-changing borders and cultures have given rise to a linguistic and cultural diversity that is too often forgotten in discussions of Europe as a political entity. Lingo takes us into today's remote mountain villages of Switzerland, where Romansh is still the lingua franca, to formerly Soviet Belarus, a country whose language was Russified by the Bolsheviks, to Sweden, where up until the 1960s polite speaking conventions required that one never use the word you in conversation, leading to tiptoeing questions of the form: Would herr generaldirekt r Rexed like a biscuit?

Spanning six millenia and sixty languages in bite-size chapters, Lingo is a hilarious and highly edifying exploration of how Europe speaks.

About the Author

Gaston Dorren is a linguist, journalist, and polyglot. He speaks Dutch, Limburgish, English, German, French, and Spanish, and reads nine more languages. He is the author of two books in Dutch, and the creator of an app, The Language Lover's Guide to Europe. Dorren lives in the Netherlands.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780802125712
ISBN-10: 0802125719
Publisher: Grove Press
Publication Date: December 13th, 2016
Pages: 304
Language: English