When you are a nerd polyglot, you like to learn languages, but not only that. You want to know more about the differences between languages, the effects of learning a new language, how regular people learn languages and the role of languages in the human history. Therefore, today I am presenting a list of ten books for curious polyglots.
One of my favorite books. In this book, Michael Erard investigates the lives of great polyglots, from the past and present, to discover the secret of a hiperpolyglot. What makes someone learn fluently six languages or more? There is a common denominator among these great learners? What science has to say on the subject? Book available in English, Russian, Arabic, Korean, French and Chinese.
The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language by Steven Pinker
Language is a human instinct, is part of us. In this book, Steven Pinker shows us how the human language works, addressing various topics, such as the acquisition of language by children, how the brain understands it and how it evolves. The book received the William James Award of the American Association of Psychology and Public Interest Award of the Society American Linguistics.
The linguist Guy Deuscher wrote one of the most interesting books on human language. Follow the evolution of human language from its origin, when we only babbled to the sophisticated communication system it is today. Deutscher explains in the book how language emerges, evolves and decays. Showing that creation and destruction are inextricably linked, a process in constant operation that generates new words, concepts and structures.
Metaphors We Live By by George Lakoff, Mark Johnson
In this book (which has become a classic), George Lakoff and Mark Johnson explain the metaphor and its role in human language and mind. Often, It is through the metaphors that we understand the world around us. Consequently, metaphors shape our perception of the world, without us realizing it and therefore has a central role in how we understand the world, not being just a mere literary device.
Kant and the Platypus: Essays on Language and Cognition by Umberto Eco
How we know that a cat is a cat? Why we call it cat? How much of our perception is based on our cognitive ability and as in language resources? These issues were addressed by various philosophers for millennia. From Plato to Kant, many have tried to understand the problem. In this book, the semiotician Umberto Eco makes the same questions and take us to the world of cognitive science, linguistics and semiotics.
Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World by Nicholas Ostler
Immerse yourself in the fascinating history of the world’s languages through empires. How certain languages became dominant over the centuries. Understand the role of language in shaping our society and culture, from Aramaic to the current dominance of English, a dense and detailed book on the most important languages of our history.
In this book, the archaeologist and philologist Maurice Olender shows us how philology was impregnated by religious and nationalists dogmas, which resulted in its connection with the theory of races, which later served as the basis for the Holocaust.
In this new book, Christine Gilbert account of her adventures with her family on three different continents. She tells us how she works independently, raises children and learns languages traveling around the world. With a bit of scientific data, the book is enjoyable to read and perfect for parents who want to raise their children as multilingual.
Um. . .: Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean by Michael Erard
Another interesting book by the linguist Micharl Erard. The book “Um…” deals with the linguistic blunders we all make when we speak. We make mistakes in one of every ten words we speak. Why? Why can’t we avoid these mistakes? And, the most curious, what these errors mean? What do they tell about us? Discover in this delightful book.
Language Myths by Laurie Bauer
A light and informative book that deconstructs myths created over centuries and decades that continue to perpetuate today. German is an ugly language, but Italian is beautiful. Women talk too much. Some languages are more difficult than others are. Young people do no know anymore how to write appropriately. Discover in this book the truth behind all these myths.