It’s been five months.

Well. That’s embarrassing. I promise I’ve been busy (I use YouTube more than here).

However, today, I’m sharing my review of Michael Erard’s Babel No More. I have a slightly rambly video about it that will go up next Thursday, but I feel like I can be more concise here. I’m not very good at concise (Oh really, Ophelia? I had no idea.)

So. Quick summary: Michael Erard wants to understand the world of polyglots.

My main problems with it:

  • It’s very West-focused, despite the fact that the majority of polyglots who use languages in their everyday life are not from the US.
  • The style doesn’t really match up with the content. It’s quite like journalism, yet also is slightly autobiographical, while it often has quite academic elements mixed in. In other words, it’s not academic enough to be a proper study, yet isn’t always very that approachable.
  • Structure was where?

I’d recommend if:

  • You want to read a book that’s loved by the polyglot community at large.

I’d recommend instead:

  • For ‘who is a polyglot’: Ellen Jovin’s Polyglot Gathering talk.
  • For style: Jon Ronson’s Psychopath Test/So You’ve Been Publicy Shamed.

I know I’ve let the Polyglot Community down.



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