Synopses & Reviews
Just about everyone has heard of Esperanto, which was nothing less than one mans attempt to bring about world peace by means of linguistic solidarity. And every Star Trek
fan knows about Klingon, which was nothing more than a television shows attempt to create a tough-sounding language befitting a warrior race with ridged foreheads. But few people have heard of Babm, Blissymbolics, and the nearly nine hundred other invented languages that represent the hard work, high hopes, and full-blown delusions of so many misguided souls over the centuries.
In In The Land of Invented Languages, author Arika Okrent tells the fascinating and highly entertaining history of mans enduring quest to build a better language. Peopled with charming eccentrics and exasperating megalomaniacs, the land of invented languages is a place where you can recite the Lords Prayer in John Wilkinss Philosophical Language, say your wedding vows in Loglan, and read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in Lojban.
A truly original new addition to the booming category of language books, In The Land of Invented Languages will be a must-have on the shelves of all word freaks, grammar geeks, and plain old language lovers.
"Efforts to make language simpler, clearer, less divisive and more truthful have backfired spectacularly, to judge by this delightful tour of linguistic hubris. Linguist Okrent explores some of the themes and shortcomings of 900 years worth of artificial languages. She surveys 'philosophical languages' that order all knowledge into self-evident systems that turn out to be bizarrely idiosyncratic; 'symbol languages' of supposedly crystalline pictographs that are actually bafflingly opaque; 'basic' languages that throw out all the fancy words and complicated idioms; rigorously logical languages so rule-bound that it's impossible to utter a correct sentence; 'international languages,' like Esperanto, that unite different cultures into a single idealistic counterculture; and whimsical 'constructed languages' that assert the unique culture and worldview of women, Klingons or chipmunks. Okrent gamely translates to and from these languages, with unspeakably hilarious results, and riffs on the colorful eccentricities of their megalomaniacal creators. Fortunately, her own prose is a model of clarity and grace; through it, she conveys fascinating insights into why natural language, with its corruptions, ambiguities and arbitrary conventions, trips so fluently off our tongues. (May 19) Whether it's history, autobiography or the current state of drugs or minor leagues, publishers have the bases covered" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Okrent tells the fascinating and highly entertaining history of man's enduring quest to build a better language.
About the Author
Arika Okrent received a joint Ph.D. in the Department of Linguistics and the Department of Psychologys Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience Program at the University of Chicago. She has also earned her first-level certification in Klingon. She lives in Philadelphia.