A whirlwind armchair tour of Europe through its languages, from Gaelic to Gagauz, Macedonian to Monégasque, covering six thousand years of history
and sixty languages in bite-size chapters
Around Europe in Sixty Languages
978-0-8021-2571-2 • $17.00 • Paperback • Dec. 2016
“A joyful guided tour around Europe’s linguistic landscape . . . genuinely interesting and enormous fun . . . a book that brims with joy at linguistic variety and invention.”Sunday Telegraph
“The depth and breadth of [Dorren’s] understanding and knowledge are awesome . . . this charming, funny, and fascinating gem of a book has persuaded me of the richness we are in danger of losing.”Times (UK)
Whether you’re a frequent visitor to Europe or just an armchair traveler, the surprising and extraordinary stories in Lingo will forever change the way you think about the continent, and may even make you want to learn a new language.
Lingo spins the reader on a whirlwind tour of sixty European languages and dialects, sharing quirky moments from their histories and exploring their commonalities and differences. Most European languages are descended from a single ancestor, a language not unlike Sanskrit known as Proto-Indo-European (or PIE for short), but the continent’s ever-changing borders and cultures have given rise to a linguistic and cultural diversity that is too often forgotten in discussions of Europe as a political entity. Lingo takes us into today’s remote mountain villages of Switzerland, where Romansh is still the lingua franca, to formerly Soviet Belarus, a country whose language was Russified by the Bolsheviks, to Sweden, where up until the 1960s polite speaking conventions required that one never use the word “you” in conversation, leading to tiptoeing questions of the form: “Would herr generaldirektör Rexed like a biscuit?”
Spanning six millennia and sixty languages in bite-size chapters, Lingo is
a hilarious and highly edifying exploration of how Europe speaks.