A language spotter's guide to Europe

Surprising, witty and full of extraordinary tales, LINGO will change the way you think about languages.

Gaston Dorren takes us on an intriguing tour of fifty-odd European languages and dialects, from the life of PIE (our common ancestor) to the rise and rise of English, via the complexities of Welsh plurals and puzzling Czech accents. Along the way, he introduces us to the baffling ways of Basque and unlocks Ukrainian’s enviable grammar trick. We learn why Esperanto could never catch on, how the language of William the Conqueror lives on in the Channel Islands and considers if English is like Chinese.

Alongside its stories, LINGO also looks at words that English has loaned from around the continent, and those we really should import, like the Norwegians' utepils (lager enjoyed out of doors), the Germans' gönnen (the opposite of envy), or the Frisian tafalle (to turn out better than expected).

Published by Profile Books, London, November 2014. Order now!