#GIVEAWAY and Book Review: What Language Is by John McWhorter

I am pleased to be part of the What Language Is: And What It Isn’t and What It Could Be blog tour with TLC Book Tours (check out the rest of the tour stops by clicking here) and also to be able to give one copy of this book away to one lucky US/Canadian reader.

From the Publisher:

New York Times bestselling author and renowned linguist, John McWhorter, explores the complicated and fascinating world of languages. From Standard English to Black English; obscure tongues only spoken by a few thousand people in the world to the big ones like Mandarin – What Language Is celebrates the history and curiosities of languages around the world and smashes our assumptions about “correct” grammar.
An eye-opening tour for all language lovers, What Language Is offers a fascinating new perspective on the way humans com

municate. From vanishing languages spoken by a few hundred people to major tongues like Chinese, with copious revelations about the hodgepodge nature of English, John McWhorter shows readers how to see and hear languages as a linguist does. Packed with Big Ideas about language alongside wonderful trivia, What Language Is explains how languages across the globe (the Queen’s English and Surinam creoles alike) originate, evolve, multiply, and divide. Raising provocative questions about what qualifies as a language (so-called slang does have structured grammar), McWhorter also takes readers on a marvelous journey through time and place-from Persian to the languages of Sri Lanka- to deliver a feast of facts about the wonders.

My Review:

What Language Is: And What It Isn’t and What It Could BeAs someone who loves words, What Language Is: And What It Isn’t and What It Could Be is a little like crack cocaine - it's a true study of what makes language and what language is.   I was really intrigued about his insights into tribal languages and the way languages evolve.  

This book is not a dry text - McWhorter's engaging writing style is witty and funny and he seems to love a good pun!  I found myself hooked in places and unable to put it down in some places. By the same token I will say that some of this went way over my head and I skimmed sections that were more complex than an average reader would need.

What Language Is: And What It Isn’t and What It Could Be would be a great gift for language teachers and those who enjoy linguistics, and those who enjoy history and cultural studies.  I definitely think this book is food for thought!

John McWhorter is the author of the bestseller Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black AmericaThe Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language, and four other books. He is associate professor of linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and a contributing editor to The City Journal and The New Republic. He has been profiled in the Los Angeles TimesThe Washington PostThe Philadelphia Inquirer, and has appeared on Dateline NBCPolitically Incorrect, and The News Hour with Jim Leherer.

Disclaimer: I received this book at no cost to me.  All opinions are my own.

And now for the giveaway: