It's "almost everything you didn't know you didn't know about language and languages." If you are ever in the position to teach a class on language or linguistics, this book will give you all the quirky facts you need to hook even the least interested student (well, maybe). Even if you're never in such a position, you can't help but be charmed by observations such as:
- Languages with a small vowel inventory tend to be spoken more loudly than those with more vowels.
- The Kipeá language of South America has a noun class that "is used for words denoting hills, dishes, stools and foreheads."
- "The Peruvian language Capanahua uses multiple negators in an unusual way with demonstratives. While haa means 'he', haama, logically enough, means 'not he'. But Capanahua takes this even further, and so, haamama is 'not not he', that is, 'he indeed'. Finally, haamamama, or 'not not not he' referes to 'someone else'.
- Let us prick.
- That which fell one's snotly blow blow one's nose.
- I have mind to vomit.