The Art of Language Invention: From Horse-Lords to Dark Elves, the Words Behind World-Building by David J. Peterson.
I know the author, so I can’t review this. That said, if you write fantasy or science fiction, please do all your readers a favor and get a copy before you name your main characters X’in’ia and John.
When I get an email from someone who’s eager to create their own language and wants to know where to begin, I have a tough time explaining what it is they should do.
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Thumbs up for Embassytown by China Miéville. Science fiction.
This is one of the few science fiction novels I could find that focuses heavily on linguistics as the science to go with the fiction. It was my first China Miéville novel. Now, if I knew two things about Miéville going into this book, it was that A. He is a genius and B.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It by Gabriel Wyner.
This book seems so useful I am overwhelmed by it. Ready to learn a language? You want this book. I don’t have enough free time and brainspace right now to tackle a project of that size, but when I do, you can bet that this will be what I reach for first.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms the World by Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche. Linguistics.
Despite the title, Found in Translation covers both translation (of the written word) and interpretation (of speech). I suspect that I would have loved this book more were I not fairly familiar with both topics already (especially having just read White House Interpreter, a much more immersive look at interpretation, my specific area of interest).… >> Read more
Thumbs up for White House Interpreter: The Art of Interpretation by Harry Obst. Linguistics/Memoir.
The author is German-English interpreter who served the U.S. State Department for nineteen years, working with seven presidents. He does a brilliant job of mixing on-the-job anecdotes – sometimes funny, sometimes embarrassing, always interesting – with non-technical descriptions of what an interpreter does, while throughout making the clear and illuminating point of why it is one of the most important jobs that no one thinks about.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything by David Bellos. Nonfiction/linguistics.
All the stuff you never think about translation. This was loaned to me by a professional translator, so it has enough depth to appeal to someone in the field; but it’s also very easy to read for the interested layman. It’s not a book of grand theories.… >> Read more