Jeb's Reviews > Biting the Wax Tadpole: Confessions of a Language Fanatic

Biting the Wax Tadpole by Elizabeth  Little
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's review
Jan 01, 2009

it was amazing
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Read in January, 2009

It's essentially a trivia book: a decidedly non-comprehensive and disarmingly subjective take on just about every language ever. And I'm totally hooked. Some excerpts and analogies could be from the author's diary, which is odd and fleetingly annoying, but the payoff is great: she ties it all in with a pop culture reference that makes me suddenly understand linguistic vocabulary specific to remote tribal languages for which I previously had no frame of reference. A really, really fun book. Useful? Probably only in the way that you'll be sitting in the hotseat on Millionaire ten years from now and then you suddenly recall that the Ancient Greek letter for "three" was "gamma." Or that Jabba the Hut spoke "Huttese," or that Esperanto is now updated to be more PC with the substitution of the neuter article "ri" in lieu of gender-specific ones. Or that you'll be at a party with the inevitable Icelandic dude, and you can be like, "Hey, doesn't your name follow a rigid declension pattern?" I'm 2/3 finished, but I already want to re-read it, just to gather up all the delicious tidbits that I probably already forgot.

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Reading Progress

01/08/2009 page 125

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