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This title in other editions

Babel No More: The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners

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Babel No More: The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A “fascinating” (The Economist) dive into the world of linguistics that is “part travelogue, part science lesson, part intellectual investigation…an entertaining, informative survey of some of the most fascinating polyglots of our time” (The New York Times Book Review).

We all learn at least one language as children. But what does it take to learn six languages…or seventy? In Babel No More, Michael Erard, “a monolingual with benefits,” sets out on a quest to meet language superlearners and make sense of their mental powers. On the way he uncovers the secrets of historical figures like Italian cardinal Giuseppe Mezzofanti, who was said to speak seventy-two languages; Emil Krebs, a pugnacious German diplomat, who spoke sixty-eight languages; and Lomb KatÓ, a Hungarian who taught herself Russian by reading Russian romance novels.

    On his way to tracking down the man who could be called the most linguistically talented person in the world, Erard meets modern language-superlearners. Among them is Alexander, who shows Erard the tricks of the trade and gives him a dark glimpse into the life of obsessive language acquisition. “Others do yoga,” writes Erard. “Alexander does grammatical exercises.”

     With his ambitious examination of what language is, where it lives in the brain, and the cultural implications of polyglots’ pursuits, Erard explores the upper limits of our ability to learn and to use languages, illuminating the intellectual potential in everyone. How do some people escape the curse of Babel—and what might the gods have demanded of them in return?

Synopsis:

In andlt;Iandgt;Babel No Moreandlt;/Iandgt;, Michael Erard, and#8220;a monolingual with benefits,and#8221; sets out on a quest to meet language superlearners and make sense of their mental powers. On the way he uncovers the secrets of historical figures like the nineteenth-century Italian cardinal Joseph Mezzofanti, who was said to speak seventy-two languages, as well as those of living language-superlearners such as Alexander Arguelles, a modern-day polyglot who knows dozens of languages and shows Erard the tricks of the trade to give him a dark glimpse into the life of obsessive language acquisition. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;With his ambitious examination of what language is, where it lives in the brain, and the cultural implications of polyglotsand#8217; pursuits, Erard explores the upper limits of our ability to learn and use languages and illuminates the intellectual potential in everyone. How do some people escape the curse of Babeland#8212;and what might the gods have demanded of them in return?

About the Author

andlt;bandgt;Michael Erardandlt;/bandgt; has graduate degrees in linguistics and rhetoric from the University of Texas at Austin. Heand#8217;s written about language, linguists, and linguistics for andlt;iandgt;Wiredandlt;/iandgt;,andlt;iandgt; The Atlanticandlt;/iandgt;,andlt;iandgt; The New Yorkandlt;/iandgt; andlt;iandgt;Timesandlt;/iandgt;, and many other publications and is a contributing writer for andlt;iandgt;The Texas Observerandlt;/iandgt; and andlt;iandgt;Design Observer.andlt;/iandgt; He is the author of andlt;iandgt;Umand#8230;: Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Meanandlt;/iandgt;.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781451628265
Author:
Erard, Michael
Publisher:
Free Press
Subject:
World
Subject:
Linguistics - General
Subject:
Language acquisition; Linguistics; polyglots; Language skills; learning new languages; hyperpolyglots
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20121031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
index, notes
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.44 x 5.5 in

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Babel No More: The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners Sale Trade Paper
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Product details 320 pages Free Press - English 9781451628265 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In andlt;Iandgt;Babel No Moreandlt;/Iandgt;, Michael Erard, and#8220;a monolingual with benefits,and#8221; sets out on a quest to meet language superlearners and make sense of their mental powers. On the way he uncovers the secrets of historical figures like the nineteenth-century Italian cardinal Joseph Mezzofanti, who was said to speak seventy-two languages, as well as those of living language-superlearners such as Alexander Arguelles, a modern-day polyglot who knows dozens of languages and shows Erard the tricks of the trade to give him a dark glimpse into the life of obsessive language acquisition. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;With his ambitious examination of what language is, where it lives in the brain, and the cultural implications of polyglotsand#8217; pursuits, Erard explores the upper limits of our ability to learn and use languages and illuminates the intellectual potential in everyone. How do some people escape the curse of Babeland#8212;and what might the gods have demanded of them in return?
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