This text provides a guided tour of languages, aiming to be at once both thought-provoking and entertaining. Examining such things as the way in which Yiddish has been influenced by the grammar of Polish, and how English absorbed French at two stages of its history.
In this work, the author shares his expertise as a linguist to introduce us to Russonorsk, a creole of Russian and Norwegian once spoken by trading fur trappers in the summer, the ways in which Yiddish, a dialect of German, has been influenced by the grammar of Polish and a dialect of an Australian aboriginal language which only has three verbs. Along the way we learn how English absorbed French at two stages of its history, giving us Norman French warranty and the standard French guarantee, while Japanese has been infused with Chinese vocabulary at four distinct periods, and that Danish, Norwegian and Swedish are best regarded as three dialects of Scandinavian.
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John McWhorter is Associate Professor of Linguistics at UC Berkeley.
The Power Of Babel by John H. McWhorter
John H. McWhorter
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