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Publisher's Summary

Whether you're a frequent visitor to Europe or just an armchair traveler, the surprising and extraordinary stories in Lingo will forever change the way you think about the continent and may even make you want to learn a new language.
Lingo spins the listener on a whirlwind tour of 60 European languages and dialects, sharing quirky moments from their histories and exploring their commonalities and differences. Most European languages are descended from a single ancestor, a language not unlike Sanskrit known as Proto-Indo-European (or PIE for short), but the continent's ever-changing borders and cultures have given rise to a linguistic and cultural diversity that is too often forgotten in discussions of Europe as a political entity.
Lingo takes us into today's remote mountain villages of Switzerland, where Romansh is still the lingua franca; to formerly Soviet Belarus, a country whose language was Russified by the Bolsheviks; to Sweden, where up until the 1960s polite speaking conventions required that one never use the word "you" in conversation, leading to tiptoeing questions of the form: "Would herr generaldirektör Rexed like a biscuit?"
Spanning six millenia and 60 languages in bite-size chapters, Lingo is a hilarious and highly edifying exploration of how Europe speaks.
©2015 Gaston Dorren. First published in Great Britain in 2014 by Profile Books. Recorded by arrangement with Grove Atlantic, Inc. (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Anonymous on 03-09-16

Fascinating tour of European dialects

This book is a fascinating your of European dialects. It melds history and linguistics in a breezy, flowing story of each language. It's easy to listen to because each chapter is short and modular. But if you miss a bit of any chapter, it's hard to gather what the author is getting at. Still, it's captivating enough for a few listens. I recommend.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By John S. on 08-31-16

Perfect narrator fit!

An overview of European languages, including several either dead, dying, or spoken as distinct "minority" languages in their countries. Easy to pick up and put down without losing any continuity; folks looking for something more in-depth might likely find themselves frustrated or disappointed. Excellent audio narration - Backman obviously went to great lengths to get the material down correctly.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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