Through the Language Glass

Through the Language Glass

Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages

Book - 2010
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A masterpiece of linguistics scholarship, at once erudite and entertaining, confronts the thorny question of how--and whether--culture shapes language and language, culture

Linguistics has long shied away from claiming any link between a language and the culture of its speakers: too much simplistic (even bigoted) chatter about the romance of Italian and the goose-stepping orderliness of German has made serious thinkers wary of the entire subject. But now, acclaimed linguist Guy Deutscher has dared to reopen the issue. Can culture influence language--and vice versa? Can different languages lead their speakers to different thoughts? Could our experience of the world depend on whether our language has a word for "blue"?

Challenging the consensus that the fundaments of language are hard-wired in our genes and thus universal, Deutscher argues that the answer to all these questions is--yes. In thrilling fashion, he takes us from Homer to Darwin, from Yale to the Amazon, from how to name the rainbow to why Russian water--a "she"--becomes a "he" once you dip a tea bag into her, demonstrating that language does in fact reflect culture in ways that are anything but trivial. Audacious, delightful, and field-changing, Through the Language Glass is a classic of intellectual discovery.

Publisher: New York : Metropolitan Books / Henry Holt and Co., 2010.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780805081954
080508195X
Characteristics: 304 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 25 cm.

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Persnickety77
Nov 29, 2014

This could have been a shorter book; the guy goes on and on about color so much so that i started skimming those sections by the end.
The directions chapter was better but also got repetitive.

but the subject matter is fascinating, for sure

srmechs Jun 22, 2013

. Thisis a readable analysis of how languages differ and why the differences matter. I’ve read very little in this field, so it has been an exciting journey with many surprises. I have a low tolerance for poor organization, pretentious language, or any talking down to the unenlightened proletariat. This writer is way beyond that level. It’s amazing how many scientists are writing for the reasonably well educated public these days. If you enjoy new ideas and exploration of new fields of learning, this is an excellent introduction to linguistics.

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ajax33
Dec 29, 2010

I found this book fascinating and entertaining. It's a little mind- boggling to think that our words may shape the way we see the world---or do they? It sure presents a good argument for learning other languages.

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