#BookReview: Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue by John McWhorter

Entertaining Discussion Of An Esoteric Topic. Up front here: I can’t judge this book’s bibliography, as I listened to the Audible version of it, which doesn’t have that. I’m also no linguist, more of a polyglot who knows a little (or a lottle) about a lot and is interested in learning about… well, damn near everything. Thus, someone who read the text version of the book and *can* speak to its breadth or dearth of bibliography may or may not deduct the star I normally do for dearth, and an actual linguist, or at least someone more familiar with the field, may have more cohesive arguments for or against the actual points raised here.

Those caveats noted, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. McWhorter reads his own work in the Audible form, and he uses enough humor here to make what could be an extremely dense topic rather enjoyable to learn a little about. Further, his arguments *seem* at minimum plausible, and possibly exactly correct – again, at least to someone completely untrained and mostly unknowledgeable in the field at hand. And the arguments he presents are also quite compelling and interesting to boot, which is generally a sign of at minimum a well thought out and well written nonfiction piece. Further, at just 250 or pages in print and just 5 hrs or so in Audible… this isn’t exactly a huge time sink if it turns out to be not your thing… and you’ll still learn at least a few things while reading it.

Overall, this is absolutely a book that will leave you thinking a bit and perhaps having learned a bit too. It will expand your horizons to think more about *how*, *exactly*, humans communicate with each other and what the grammars of our various languages say about how we think about things – and the arguments that perhaps it says absolutely nothing at all. Very much recommended.

This review of Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue by John McWhorter was originally written on August 2, 2023.