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In the Land of Invented Languages: Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets,… (2009)

by Arika Okrent

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7302623,717 (4.02)58
Okrent tells the fascinating and highly entertaining history of man's 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 Lord's Prayer in John Wilkins's Philosophical Language, say your wedding vows in Loglan, and read "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" in Lojban--not to mention Babm, Blissymbolics, and the nearly nine hundred other invented languages featured in this language-lover's book.… (more)
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» See also 58 mentions

English (25)  Catalan (1)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
Intriguing, scattered. Many tidbits about constructed languages and the intellectual contexts in which they flourished, from Hildegard von Biden's 12th C Lingua Ifnota to 2007's Dritok. Mocks language constructors while learning Klingon. ( )
  JesseTheK | Sep 26, 2020 |
I love love love this book! I've been fascinated with language since... well, since as far back as I can remember having language. I don't have the requisite gifts to hack it as a linguist, but my fascination and delight in language is no less for that.

And delight is was makes this book so enjoyable. The author's intelligence and expertise are obvious - her conclusions about language and culture are spot-on. But it's her sense of humor and the joy she takes in the material that make this book utterly compelling! I never would have thought that a book about language, written by a linguist, could make me laugh out loud. But this one did - more than once!

Anyone who is even slightly interested in the nature and workings of language should read this book! ( )
  johnthelibrarian | Aug 11, 2020 |
I was looking for a guide on inventing my own language. At that this book fails miserably, but it's still a fascinating read about the relationship between people and language. ( )
  THC-NYC | Jan 20, 2018 |
A highly entertaining and educational romp through the world of invented languages. ( )
  Lindoula | Sep 25, 2017 |
Very interesting but I found it to be more of a wandering collection of essays than a coherent book. ( )
  GranitePeakPubs | Jun 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
For linguists and language mavens alike, this is a massively enjoyable book, full of dreamers and geniuses who devoted their lives to building a better language and, quite often, failed spectacularly.
added by Katya0133 | editBooklist, David Pitt (May 15, 2009)
 
[Okrent] conveys fascinating insights into why natural language, with its corruptions, ambiguities and arbitrary conventions, trips so fluently off our tongues.
added by Katya0133 | editPublishers Weekly (Mar 9, 2009)
 
I’ve never had much interest in artificial languages, but this completely won me over. Arika Okrent writes well and tells a great story, but she also has a PhD in linguistics, which makes all the difference; any good journalist could spin a lively tale out of some of this material (people who spend their lives creating and trying to publicize languages tend to be pretty colorful), but it takes a linguist to see what’s going on with the languages and be able to point out where they succeed and where they fail. Okrent has written a gripping account of some amazing people and some fascinating changes in the European cultural environment.
 
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Klingon speakers, those who have devoted themselves to the study of a language invented for the Star Trek franchise, inhabit the lowest possible rung on the geek ladder.
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Okrent tells the fascinating and highly entertaining history of man's 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 Lord's Prayer in John Wilkins's Philosophical Language, say your wedding vows in Loglan, and read "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" in Lojban--not to mention Babm, Blissymbolics, and the nearly nine hundred other invented languages featured in this language-lover's book.

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