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Talk on the Wild Side

Why Language Can't Be Tamed
Narrated by: Lane Greene
Length: 9 hrs and 30 mins
5 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Language is the most human invention. Spontaneous, unruly, passionate, and erratic it resists every attempt to discipline or regularize it - a history celebrated here in all its irreverent glory.

Language is a wild thing. It is vague and anarchic. Style, meaning, and usage are continually on the move. Throughout history, for every mutation, idiosyncrasy, and ubiquitous mistake, there have been countervailing rules, pronouncements, and systems making some attempt to bring language to heel.

From the utopian language-builder to the stereotypical grammatical stickler to the programmer trying to teach a computer to translate, Lane Greene takes the listener through a multi-disciplinary survey of the many different ways in which we attempt to control language, exploring the philosophies, motivations, and complications of each. The result is a highly listenable caper that covers history, linguistics, politics, and grammar with the ease and humor of a dinner party anecdote.

Talk on the Wild Side is both a guide to the great debates and controversies of usage, and a love letter to language itself. Holding it together is Greene's infectious enthusiasm for his subject. While you can walk away with the finer points of who says "whom" and the strange history of "buxom" schoolboys, most of all, it inspires awe in language itself: for its elegance, resourcefulness, and power.

©2018 Lane Greene (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Its breadth of coverage, and its intelligent and informed commentary, mean that it has much to offer anyone interested in the study of human languages... What unites Mr Greene's roles as language pundit and editor is a passion for language in all its variety and complexity, making for a lively and fascinating read." (Simon Horobin, independent review in The Economist)

"Erudite and ebullient...a brisk, informative look at the complexities of human communication." (Kirkus Reviews)

"We think alike on language, only Lane Greene knows more." (Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book, awful narration

The content of the book is wonderful. I loved his other book "you are what you speak," so I wasn't surprised that I enjoyed this book too.

However, this audiobook is another example of why authors shouldn't narrate their own books. Every time he speaks, it begins with the wet, lip-smacking sound. If you can tune that out, this audiobook is for you. If not, purchase the physical book instead.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great book. Performance could be improved

Great language book, but the reader, even though it was the author, could work on his cadence.