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The Loom of Language: An Approach to the Mastery of Many Languages Paperback


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Frequently Bought Together

The Loom of Language: An Approach to the Mastery of Many Languages + How to Learn Any Language + The Polyglot Project: How to Learn Multiple Languages
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (October 17, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039330034X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393300345
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 5 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Makes language study more hopeful and exciting than anything I have read before.” (Lewis Gannett)

“Rewarding and delightful . . . for everyone who has the slightest curiosity or ambition in self expression, this is a book that contains months or years of pleasurable profit.” (Christopher Morley)

About the Author

Frederick Bodmer is a distinguished Swiss philologist.

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Customer Reviews

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It is at the same time a history of language, a guide to foreign tongues and a method for learning them.
Judy Smith
I highly recommend it for anyone who is interested in languages and wants a good review--not so much for phonology but more historical and comparative.
Andrew Cotton
Essentially Mr. Bodmer states that all of the current proposals for an international language are flawed but "Novial" is the best among them.
Greg Turner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 65 people found the following review helpful By james_sumner@hotmail.com on August 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
Having spent the past year learning Italian, German, and French, I can safely say that this text encapsulates and formulates most of the linguistic revelations I had, and that it furthermore does the same for Dutch and Scandinavian languages, as well as containing fascinating insights into non-Indo-European (called Aryan in the book) languages such as Chinese, Finnish, and Hungarian. Outdated? In some respects, undoubtedly. But still useful and enthralling? Unless you happen to feel like wading through several semesters of foreign languages and philology to come to the same gestalt view and connaissance available in 600 or so well-written pages, absolutely.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Judy Smith VINE VOICE on April 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
The theme of this book is language, its origins in the past, its growth through history, and its present use for communication between peoples. It is at the same time a history of language, a guide to foreign tongues and a method for learning them. It shows, through basic vocabularies, family resemblances of languages...Teutonic, Romance, Greek...helpful tricks of translation, key combinations of roots and phonetic patterns. It demonstrates that it is as easy to learn several languages at once as it is to learn one; it condenses vocabulary to a minimum of essential words; it simplifies grammar in an entirely new way, and it teaches a language as it is actually used in everyday life rather than in the abstract manner of textbooks.
(...)
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful By TC on November 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
A good reason exists why The Loom of Language, first published in 1944, is still in print. It remains one of the best overviews of Indo-European and Near East languages to date. While a basic grasp of linguistic tools will help, the reader essentially only needs an understanding of English grammatical rules to get through the book. The explicit goal of The Loom of Languages is to introduce readers to a broad range of languages, language timelines, language roots and the tools necessary to understand a wide variety of linguistic patterns so as to learn new languages. The greatest asset of The Loom of Language is that it never strays off track. The authors carefully, consistently marry one chapter to the next. This is no dry linguistic workbook either; the authors take the time to explore the history and culture behind various languages, peppering the work with colorful anthropological anecdotes.

If one fault could be listed with The Loom of Languages it would be that a muddy xenophobia trickles into some of the chapter as witnessed by this comment concerning the lack of Greek and Latin language influence in the Eastern Europe of antiquity: "The comparatively late appearance of loan words in the Slavonic lexicon faithfully reflects this retardation of culture contact with more progressive communities (page 419)."

Modern day readers unaccustomed to the cultural proclivities of earlier linguists and anthropologists may find the repetitive use of words like "Aryan" or "high culture" unsettling. That said, the nitty-gritty of the data (with a few exceptions) in The Loom of Languages remains unadulterated and essentially informative. Recent discoveries by linguists and anthropologists now contradict some of TLOL findings, but not enough to undermine the goals of the book. A highly recommended book for budding linguists or those with a curiosity about the link between language and history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Cotton on January 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was looking for a book that would cover a broad range of topics and many languages and this was interesting all the way through. I highly recommend it for anyone who is interested in languages and wants a good review--not so much for phonology but more historical and comparative.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Smart Shopper on December 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
the book arrived as described and promptly as well. It is a good book the highlights languages in a novel fashion
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