Many of us view language as a tool, a means by which to communicate our thoughts and emotions. But is there more to language than just “talk”? Can learning languages actually change the way you think? In The Language Imperative , best-selling author and linguistic scholar Suzette Haden Elgin makes a persuasive case that the linguistic differences between us are not trivial, that language and culture are inextricably linked, and that multilingualism has a profound (and beneficial) effect on the human mind. Drawing on examples from the worlds of medicine, business, religion, and family life, Elgin illustrates that each language learned gains for the speaker another worldview — perhaps even another personality. This makes it all the more disturbing that many of the world’s languages are rapidly disappearing, and that the “English Only” movement is gaining ground. Based on solid science and filled with personal insights, The Language Imperative is required reading for anyone interested in how words shape our lives, both as individuals and as a nation.
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