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Don't Believe A Word: The Surprising Truth About Language Reviews

Don't Believe A Word: The Surprising Truth About Language by David Shariatmadari

Don't Believe A Word: The Surprising Truth About Language

David Shariatmadari

Score pending

2 reviews

Category: Non-fiction
Imprint: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Publication date: 22 Aug 2019
ISBN: 9781474608442

A mind-boggling journey through the phenomenon of language, busting nine common myths about humanity's greatest achievement

  • The GuardianBook of the Day
4 stars out of 5
10 Aug 2019

"A myth-busting account of how languages emerge, change, and influence the way we think"

This book makes a good case for seeing linguistics as “the universal social science”, one that teaches us not just about language but about how we live and make sense of the world. When we learn how the world is made through words, we also learn to be sceptical of our current iteration of reality and more tolerant of other perspectives. If life can be differently worded, it can be differently lived.


4 stars out of 5
Alexander Larman
25 Aug 2019

"This lucid examination of linguistics entertains as much as it informs"

The odd section can be somewhat hard going, despite Shariatmadari’s obvious enthusiasm, but some good jokes make up for that; I especially enjoyed a line on how Madonna’s accent, after years of life in Britain, became “more Downton than Downtown”. And, above all, this is a generous and enthralling study of the basis of how we communicate. At its close, Shariatmadari compares linguistics to Schatzkammer, a German term for treasure chamber. Readers of this fine book will enjoy taking part in this particular treasure hunt, with Shariatmadari serving as their more than able guide.