In the Land of Invented Languages: Adventures in Linguistic Creativity, Madness, and Genius 35142nd Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 182 ratings
ISBN-13: 978-0812980899
ISBN-10: 0812980891
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  • In the Land of Invented Languages: Adventures in Linguistic Creativity, Madness, and Genius
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Hats off to Okrent, who expertly exposes the history, culture, and preoccupations of this insular tribe who live among us. She rescues language inventors, or conlangers, from the oddball bin—utopianists all, they're the first biotechnologists, trying to leapfrog evolution and improve human life. They'll thank her but everyone else will, too, for finally making sense of the conlangers' discontents.” —Michael Erard, author of Um…: Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean

“A lively, informative, insightful examination of artificial languages—who invents them, why, and why most of them fail. I loved this book.”—Will Shortz, Crossword Editor, New York Times

“Linguist Okrent explores some of the themes and shortcomings of 900 years worth of artificial languages. …Okrent gamely translates these languages with unspeakably hilarious results, and riffs on the colorful eccentricities of their megalomaniacal creators. Fortunately, her own prose is a model of clarity and grace; through it, she conveys fascinating insights into why natural language, with its corruptions, ambiguities and arbitrary conventions, trips so fluently off our tongues.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Arika Okrent is a linguist whose fascination with the "faded plastic flowers" in the "lush orchid garden of languages" is recounted to delightful, often comic effect in "In the Land of Invented Languages."...Okrent's style is eminently suited to her approach, which is at once serious and playful, exemplified by her marvelous, snappy opening sentence: "Klingon speakers ... inhabit the lowest possible rung on the geek ladder."— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"The author...examines a variety of would-be languages and related philosophical tenets (there are no pure ideas, all signs depend on conventions) in a rigorously linguistical way. And yet her book is a pleasure to read. It shows how language systems connect, or don’t connect, with people."—New York Times

"Anyone who has felt the lure of words, odd grammatical systems or the potential connections between human thought and speech, is likely to enjoy this book just as much as I did."— Locus

"'In the Land of Invented Languages is a delight to read. It's humorous, intelligent, entertaining and highly informative. And it's a great source of knowledge about human languages and why they exasperate some people - because they are not perfect. But neither are we."—San Francisco Chronicle

"Okrent is a professional linguist and relates the place of these artificial languages in the confusion of human languages. She is also a great storyteller, and eccentric characters and dashed dreams are the stuff of this delightful book. "—Denver Post

About the Author

Arika Okrent received a joint Ph.D. in the Department of Linguistics and the Department of Psychology’s Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience Program at the University of Chicago. She has also earned her first-level certification in Klingon. She lives in Philadelphia.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Random House; 35142nd edition (May 11, 2010)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0812980891
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0812980899
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 10.2 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.1 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 182 ratings

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
182 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on August 10, 2015
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Reviewed in the United States on April 24, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States on September 2, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on July 15, 2013
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Reviewed in the United States on April 27, 2014
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Reviewed in the United States on July 20, 2012
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Reviewed in the United States on February 28, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars Invented Languages or Conlangs
By cas on February 28, 2020
This book is very well done from the point of view of someone who knows nothing about Conlangs. It is meant as an introduction and discovery of invented languages no more and with respect to that perspective it does a very good job. Ignore the negative commentary by the party poopers. If you know nothing about Invented Languages or Conlangs you will thoroughly enjoy this book.
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Top reviews from other countries

Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Humane and fascinating
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 24, 2015
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3 people found this helpful
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LunarE
5.0 out of 5 stars The author is also a good storyteller; I enjoyed following her trips around the ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 12, 2018
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 19, 2019
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BrianHaunton
5.0 out of 5 stars Tolkein's Secret Vice
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 19, 2012
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4 people found this helpful
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Gerino
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read for anyone interested in languages
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 21, 2015
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