Babel - Around the World in Twenty Languages
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Babel follows on from the highly praised Lingo, which sold over 11,000 copies and is backlisting in paperback. It was hailed by the Wall Street Journal as “a peppy advertisement for the rewards of having several languages in one’s head” and by the Boston Globe: “as enlightening as it is entertaining.” Babel will appeal to a similar audience of language lovers and armchair travelers. Did you know more people speak Malay than French? Or that Javanese is among the world’s top twenty languages, while Italian is not? Babel celebrates the quirks of the world's languages, including why Punjabi may, like Chinese, be a tonal language, though many of its speakers do not realize this, or how it’s impossible for Turkish people today to understand books written in the early part of the twentieth century because of the rapid pace of language change. Dorren is an authority on languages, with an ability to read in fifteen and speak six. He has an ideal profile to write this book and is a perfect interviewee on questions of vanishing linguistic diversity, how languages change our brains, and how we’re connected (and separated) by the history of our languages. For Dorren’s previous book, Lingo, he did interviews including with Rick Steves and we expect even more interest for this book. Galley and buzz outreach to translators (including at the ALTA conference in November) and to language advocates and activists. For fans of Is That A Fish In Your Ear by David Bellos, Between You and Me by Mary Norris (who reviewed Lingo for the New Yorker’s In Brief), and The Riddle of the Labyrinth by Margalit Fox. While Lingo focused on Europe, Babel presents a truly global look at language, including many languages spoken by heritage groups in the U.S. With photos, charts, and other illustrations, a perfect gift book for language-lovers.