Sunday, June 28, 2009

In The Land of Invented Languages by Arika Okrent

In the Land of Invented Languages by Arika Okrent is about artificially constructed languages. Okrent's style in this book closely resembles that of a travelogue. For several of the languages Okrent gives a little historical background mixed with a description of her personal experiences with the language in question. At times the material can be a little dry, it is linguistics after all. But don't let that discourage you because Okrent can be uproariously funny too.

I found the topic and Okrent's style so engaging, I read the book in a little over a day. I enjoyed it immensely, recognizing several of the languages she discusses. My only disappointment was that, at times, Okrent may have been a little too breezy. I would have enjoyed a little more background in linguistics and perhaps a more description of how the constructed languages she discusses worked.

If you don't know anything about artificial languages, Okrent is a capable tour guide. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the geeky world of constructed languages, even if that interest is only a passing one.


1 comment:

Brian Barker said...

Concerning Arika's new book...

I think that the choice, realistically, for the future global language lies between English and Esperanto, rather than an untried project. As a native English speaker I would prefer Esperanto.

It's unfortunate, however, that only a few people know that Esperanto has become a living language.

After a short period of 121 years Esperanto is now in the top 100 languages, out of 6,800 worldwide, according to the CIA factbook.

It is the 17th most used language in Wikipedia, and in use by Skype, Firefox and Facebook. Native Esperanto speakers,(people who have used the language from birth), include George Soros, World Chess Champion Susan Polgar, Ulrich Brandenberg the new German Ambassador to NATO and Nobel Laureate Daniel Bovet.

Further arguments can be seen at Professor Piron was a translator with the United Nations in Geneva.

A glimpse of Esperanto can be seen at