Inspiring Travel Books: Babel No More

I love learning new languages.  I grew up studying French and later went on to live in Italian- and Spanish-speaking countries, which allowed me to quickly pick up new Romance languages.  I’ve also got a little Japanese under my belt and am occasionally trying to learn Russian (primarily by watching music videos on YouTube, it’s true).  What I didn’t realize was that there is an entire community of people out there who are much more dedicated to learning languages than I am.  Their goal?  To become hyper-polyglots, or people who speak many languages (the usual definition is twelve or more!).

Buy Babel No More at AmazonBabel No More by Michael Erard seeks to understand these awesome/insane individuals.  Erard traveled the world, in the process exploring the legacies of history’s famed (or, supposed!) hyper-polyglots and meeting contemporary language lovers.  It seems that some people use language learning as an excuse to avoid communication (“Sorry, I can’t come out tonight, I have to study Ancient Greek…”) while others learn languages to broaden their opportunities to communicate.  Regardless of why you love languages, I highly recommend this book!

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6 responses to “Inspiring Travel Books: Babel No More

  1. I saw your comment on my friend Christine’s blog (Writing from Scotland) and was intrigued by your blog name!
    Interesting post – my fluent (tho a bit rusty at the moment) foreign language is also French (2 degrees), and I have a bit of Norwegian, German and Italian. Can read/understand some Swedish because it’s one of my husband’s languages. I understand the urge to learn more languages, and to be proficient. At the moment I have Dutch in my sights. Will definitely have a look at this book.

    • lipglossandabackpack

      Wow, that’s an interesting mix of languages! I’ll bet it serves you well during European travel!

  2. I love this! I’m adding the book to my “to-read” list. I love languages, and learning whatever I can wherever I go. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I’ve studied multiple languages and just discovered the most effective way to get a few phrases under my belt fast. It’s called the Michael Thomas Method and I totally recommend it. There are no books, no memorizing … Just listen to the lessons and learn. I got some CDs from my local library and there are also apps you can download. I learnt more Mandarin in about 2 weeks than I did in an entire semester of studying! It’s great for learning the basics and also for helping with pronounciation.

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