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Fascinating content, irritating style
on 20 May 2014
In terms of content, this is a fascinating, mind-blowing introduction to the ways in which language may affect our views of the world. the question of whether our mother tongue influences our thinking and perceptions is considered through questions of colour vocabulary, means of giving directions and grammatical gender. By far the largest portion of the book considers colour, and this is the most intriguing - I had certainly never questioned that "blue" is a concept that every language would have a word for, but it seems I was wrong. Each of the concepts is illustrated by examples and thought experiments, including a description of various scientific experiments which have attempted to prove links between language and other areas of brain function.
Unfortunately, although the topic, examples etc are intriguing, the style is annoying. The author seems to subscribe to the view that one sentence is never enough - he can use pages to cover what could be expressed just as well in one paragraph. There is also a sneering tone which creeps in at many points, which is frankly annoying.
The book could undoubtedly be both shorter and less annoying if written in a different style. However, I would recommend reading it for the insights it gives into the world, and the preconceptions about what is "normal" that it challenges.