This month was probably one of my favorite challenges so far. It gave me an excuse to delve into a couple new books and I love what Patrick Rothfuss has done with his constructed languages. I don’t want to give to much away, so I invite you to keep reading.
As a quick recap, here are the books we’ve read so far this year:
January // Book about your native language
February // Book in your target language (translation of a book from your native language)
This month, the challenge was to read a book about someone who learns a language (can be fiction or non-fiction). To meet the requirements, I chose to read two books. The first was Living with a Dead Language by Ann Patty to fulfill the non-fiction aspect of the challenge and the second was The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (en español) to cover fiction.
Living with a Dead Language: My Romance with Latin by Ann Patty
While I have never taken the steps to dive in and learn Latin, it’s a language I’ve always felt fascination for and I was able to vicariously experience learning the language through Ann Patty by reading Living with a Dead Language.
The narrative is humorous and shares as much about the Latin language as the experience of learning it and it was enjoyable to read. While the book was primarily biographical in nature, Ann Patty shares an interesting assortment of information on what it’s like to learn the Latin language in New York.
The author’s enthusiasm for words and language are highly contagious.
While I found the book entertaining, I would only recommend it to those who enjoy biographies/autobiographies. The author often reflects on and draws comparisons too her personal life and there are times when the language aspects of the book take a back seat. Regardless, it’s an interesting book on self-discovery through language.
Title: Living with a Dead Language: My Romance with a Dead Language
Author: Ann Patty
Pages: 256 pages
Publication Date: June 14, 2016
El temor de un hombre sabio by Patrick Rothfuss
Earlier in this year’s challenge, I featured Patrick Rothfuss’s first book and this month, I’m featuring the second of his Kingkiller Chronicles.
The main character, Kvothe, learns several languages in both the first book and the second, but it’s the pacing and description of how he goes about learning the Ademic language in El tenor de un hombre sabio that is fascinating.
The language, Ademic, is not as fully fleshed out as any of Tolkien’s fictional languages, but it’s one of the more original conlangs I’ve read about. It’s a mixture of sign language and spoken language and Kvothe goes through a strikingly realistic process of learning it (unlike many texts who magically grant their characters the suddenly ability to learn a new language).
Ademic culture also plays a big part in communication and ultimately, how the language is used. Needless to say, I also found this fascinating as sociolinguistics is one of my favorite topics.
If you enjoy fantasy, I highly recommend Patrick Rothfuss’s books. And if you love language on top of that, well, then I’m sure you know what I’ll say. In short, highly recommended.
Title: El Temor de un Hombre Sabio
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Pages: 1200 pages
Publisher: Vintage Espanol
Publication Date: Feb 4, 2014
Language Reading Challenge Linkup Rules:
1. Share your post discussing the book that you’ve read this month. Submissions unrelated to the theme or links to your homepage will be deleted. You can use the linkup below or just share in the comments.
2. Follow the host: Shannon from Eurolinguiste.