Friday 29 March 2024

Book Review: Linguaphile - A Life of Language Love by Julie Sedivy (Non-Fiction)

Linguaphile: A Life of Language Love
Julie Sedivy
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
15 October 2024
eBook - PDF
ARC via NetGalley

A celebration of the beauty and mystery of language and how it shapes our lives, our loves, and our world. If there is one feature that defines the human condition, it is written, spoken, signed, understood, and misunderstood, in all its infinite glory. In this ingenious, lyrical exploration, Julie Sedivy draws on years of experience in the lab and a lifetime of linguistic love to bring the discoveries of linguistics home, to the place language itself within the yearnings of the human heart and amid the complex social bonds that it makes. A Life of Language Love follows the path that language takes through a human life—from an infant’s first attempts at sense-making to the vulnerabilities and losses that accompany aging. As Sedivy shows, however, language and life are inextricable, and here she offers them a childish misunderstanding of her mother’s meaning reveals the difficulty of relating to other minds; frustration with “professional” communication styles exposes the labyrinth of standards that define success; the first signs of hearing loss lead to a meditation on society’s discomfort with physical and mental limitations. Part memoir, part scientific exploration, and part cultural commentary, this book epitomizes the thrills of a life steeped in the aesthetic delights of language and the joys of its scientific scrutiny.


Linguaphile was a interesting read, part-memoir, part-treatise on language and language acquisition. The author considered language and how she absorbed it during different stages in her life from childhood through to her studies and later research. It was fascinating in many ways, but it was rather specialised and, at times, technically focused, thus it's probably more suited to language and linguistics students or those with a very deep love for language and language studies rather than every-day readers. I am giving it four stars.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

No comments:

Post a Comment