Though we're known as a nation of English speakers, the linguistic map of the United States is hardly monochromatic. While much ado has been made about the role that Spanish may play in our national future, it would be a gross misrepresentation to label America a bilingual country. On the contrary, our languages are as varied as our origins. There is Basque in Nevada, Arabic in Detroit, Gullah in South Carolina. We speak European, Asian, and American Indian languages; we speak creoles, jargons, and pidgins.
As a resident of Queens - among the most ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse places on the planet - Elizabeth Little first began to wonder how this host of tongues had shaped the American experience. It was only a matter of time before she decided to take her questions on the road.
In Trip of the Tongue, Little explores our nation's many cultures and languages in search of what they say about who we are individually, socially, and politically. This book is both a celebration of American multiculturalism and a reflection on what we value, what we fight for, and what we allow ourselves to forget. Elizabeth Little is a witty and endearing tour guide for this memorable and original trip.
Learned a great deal and certainly laughed more than I thought I would when picking up this title about language. Nicely read, although the reader was a bit uneven and halting in places. Really grew to appreciate if not like the author by the end of the final chapter. Very much appreciated the thoughtful and thorough consideration of culture underlying the various languages discussed. Marked it down from five stars only because the gratuitous profanity did not seem either genuine or necessary, but instead seemed calculated to convince the reader that the author was a wild spirit, when the very premise of the book accomplishes the same goal without the awkward vulgarities.
While fact-based, this book doesn't feel like it; it's more a story, a memoir. However, it seemed that the narrator wasn't very familiar with the book before reading. The performance wasn't smooth and was somewhat dey. Not impossible to listen to, but not riveting, either