Lingo: Around Europe in Sixty Languages, by Gaston Dorren
Non-Fiction, Language, Linguistics, History, Cultural
Lingo: Around Europe in Sixty Languages is an entertaining read with short chapters covering the variety of languages across Europe. The book is full of fun facts, including an overview of how geography, religion, and history have influenced each language. This is a great way to learn a bit about languages as well as about European countries and cultures.
Some languages are closely related to each other, while some are very unique and not known by many people. We are fascinated by dying languages, and love hearing about both their importance and the efforts to keep them going. For instance, in Ireland in 1997 a Gaelic TV channel was introduced, Teilifís na Gaeilge (TG4), to help keep the Irish language alive.
As an added bonus in this book, each chapter ends with two snippets, one a word(s) that English has borrowed from that language, and the other a word(s) that does not exist in English but would come in handy. One example, from Slovene, is the word “Vrtičkar.” This is the idea of people who have a hobby in order to be social with others. As in “Gardening, when you drink a beer with a neighbor while tending the vegetables.”
Here’s Barbara just before someone catches her not knowing what they’re saying in German. Wir können nur ein bisschen Deutsch.😳
About the Author
The author, Gaston Dorren, is a both a linguist and a journalist. He lives in his home country of the Netherlands, speaks six languages fluently, and can read in many more. He has a good sense of humor about people who only speak English, and a very likely theory that Europeans have styled their languages to be quirky and difficult on purpose.
If you enjoy languages, this is a good book for fun with words and their origins. It’s also a nice way to learn a little about a lot of European countries.
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