I just checked and it’s been 2 weeks since I finished this book – and I can already tell you I don’t remember a single thing about what I read. So while I remember enjoying it quite a bit as I listened to it, I think I might have to bring my rating down a bit for how unmemorable this was – especially compared to the few other non-fiction books I’ve read lately, which are still living in my head rent-free.
Regardless, this is a very good book – and a quick peak into a summary reminded me of some of the things that made me so interesting.
This was the second linguistics book I have read in as many months, and I’ve discovered that the nuances of language actually quite intrigue me, even if we’re speaking of a language which is not my own. It’s funny how perplexing English speakers feel when confronted with languages where all things have genders, though sometimes us gendered-languages speakers don’t take things quite as far as she would have you believe. Knives and chairs are female, and sofas and forks are male in Portuguese and I honestly make no inferences from those facts. But I get her point that some of these things are sometimes on the nose.
But I found it extremely interesting how Montell pointed out the impact culture has on language, but also the impact that language has on culture. You can only discuss that which you have the vocabulary to express and all that, so this book did lend itself to some reflection.
She also makes it very clear how we see a pattern in the English language of female words gaining pejorative meanings over time, while the same thing rarely happens with male words unless the pejorative usage becomes homophobic in some way.
Overall an interesting read.