Customer Reviews


5 Reviews
5 star:
 (1)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SuperHyperMultiPolyglots
With memories of failing college French, mangling German in Berlin, and being unable to even hear the critical difference in some letters in Polish, I was looking forward to Michael Erard's Babel No More, a book about successful language learners.

Erard takes an already interesting topic and makes it a little more irresistible by turning it into a multi-faceted...
Published on 6 April 2012 by takingadayoff

versus
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth reading
I'm interested in language learning from both a learner's and teacher's point of view. I was expecting this book to be a fascinating read. Unfortunately, it was very disappointing for various reasons, for example:

* It was apparently written for people with no knowledge about learning foreign languages and clearly attempted to cater to the lowest common...
Published on 29 Jan 2012 by Maria


Most Helpful First | Newest First

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SuperHyperMultiPolyglots, 6 April 2012
By 
takingadayoff "takingadayoff" (Las Vegas, Nevada) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Babel No More: The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners (Hardcover)
With memories of failing college French, mangling German in Berlin, and being unable to even hear the critical difference in some letters in Polish, I was looking forward to Michael Erard's Babel No More, a book about successful language learners.

Erard takes an already interesting topic and makes it a little more irresistible by turning it into a multi-faceted mystery. Are the occasional reports of super linguists, people who learn languages with ease and speak dozens, true or are they urban myths? Are there any of these hyperpolyglots, as he calls them, alive today? If they exist, is there something we can learn from them, some secret language-learning method that will make sad uniglots like me potential hyperpolyglots?

Erard sets out to verify or debunk the story of a 19th century Italian who was supposed to have spoken over fifty languages and learned new languages in weeks. From there he tracks down and meets some current-day polyglots and starts to find some unexpected and disturbing similarities. Most of the self-identified polyglots are men, many are left-handed, and quite a few seem to exhibit some autistic tendencies. Erard is reluctant to make too much of these similarities, yet he can't explain them away either.

And then there's the most vexing problem - what does it mean to speak a language, or to know a language? Does it mean with native fluency? With ease? Able to get by? Everyone has a different standard and this makes it hard to compare or group these hyperpolyglots in any meaningful way.

Erard is best when he is interviewing the polyglots and finding out how they learn languages. When he gets into the science of learning languages and especially neurophysiology and brain imaging, it just serves to remind us how little we know about our own brains. In the end, we learn that the superhyperpolymultiglots learn languages in much the same way everyone does, with regular practice, a disciplined method, and a lot of self-motivation.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read..., 26 Feb 2012
This review is from: Babel No More: The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners (Hardcover)
I enjoyed it. Some of the other reviews were negative, but I think that they may have expected a more scientific book (also, reviews of the kindle edition, or reviews published in newspapers and magazines, are generally positive). This book is written for a general audience, and the subtitle, "The Search For..." should be taken to heart. It describes the author's experiences and the people he met in his "search." While I didn't really perceive a strong focus holding the book together, the book introduced me to a bunch of interesting people, past and present, who know many languages. One particularly neat comparison was between some guy in northern California, who studied mostly by himself (through audio recordings and texts) and some people in India, who "picked up" several languages as they needed them due to the requirements of every day life in that part of the world. Different approaches towards similar results.

Overall, it's generally interesting and an accessible introduction to the world of people who know many languages.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth reading, 29 Jan 2012
This review is from: Babel No More: The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners (Hardcover)
I'm interested in language learning from both a learner's and teacher's point of view. I was expecting this book to be a fascinating read. Unfortunately, it was very disappointing for various reasons, for example:

* It was apparently written for people with no knowledge about learning foreign languages and clearly attempted to cater to the lowest common denominator.
* Minimal research into finding language learners.
* A haphazard and superficial look at the neurology behind language acquisition.

I'm certain there are more extraordinary learners out there, but Erard didn't find them.

In conclusion, I would not recommend bothering with "Babel No More" because it was more like reading a chatty article in a woman's magazine while waiting at the dentist's than a true investigation into polyglots.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A very disappointing book!, 19 Feb 2012
By 
Gonthier Remi - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Babel No More: The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners (Hardcover)
I am a keen language learner and was really looking forward to reading this book. However I was very very disappointed. The research is very superficial and based purely on anecdotes and haphazard conversations with liguists and neuroscientists. The tone of the book is at times very casual and almost derisory, whilst at the same time trying to sound scientific. The purpose of the book itself is unclear. A very disappointing purchase.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it all in one go over the weekend, brilliant if you understand what it is!, 13 Aug 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Babel No More: The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners (Hardcover)
I love this book. It has a light style of writting like an adventure book that highlights certain areas of language learning and tells us more about the aloof tribe of language learners. It is NOT a language learning manual, nor any course of any sorts. It's been written for people passionate about learning foreign languages. I was following the steps of the author and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The author goes into deeper subjects like some parts of the brain and neurological research of language geniuses which some people could find a bit boring, but I personally liked that it tried to shed some different light onto the subject from a semi-scientific point of view. The bottom line is that we still know very little about the brain and there are only few things we know which could stimulate better learning (a bit).

I also read more about a person I watch on YouTube and it was interesting to learn more about the guy's personal life and how much time he devotes to language learning and the incredible regime he puts himself under.

The book is brilliant if you understand what it is! It's for fun and to find out more about who's out there and the legendary people of the past.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Babel No More: The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners
14.44
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews