The Babel Message: A Love Letter To Language

Keith Kahn-Harris

£12.99

Hardback

Non-Fiction

ISBN: 9781785787379

Description

‘Quite simply, and quite ridiculously, one of the funniest and most illuminating books I have ever read.

I thought I was obsessive, but Keith Kahn-Harris is playing a very different sport.

He really has discovered the whole world in an egg.’ Simon GarfieldA thrilling journey deep into the heart of language, from a rather unexpected starting point. Keith Kahn-Harris is a man obsessed with something seemingly trivial – the warning message found inside Kinder Surprise eggs:WARNING, read and keep: Toy not suitable for children under 3 years.

Small parts might be swallowed or inhaled. On a tiny sheet of paper, this message is translated into dozens of languages – the world boiled down to a multilingual essence.

Inspired by this, the author asks: what makes ‘a language’?

With the help of the international community of language geeks, he shows us what the message looks like in Ancient Sumerian, Zulu, Cornish, Klingon – and many more.

Along the way he considers why Hungarian writing looks angry, how to make up your own language, and the meaning of the heavy metal umlaut. Overturning the Babel myth, he argues that the messy diversity of language shouldn’t be a source of conflict, but of collective wonder.

This is a book about hope, a love letter to language. ‘This is a wonderful book. A treasure trove of mind-expanding insights into language and humanity encased in a deliciously quirky, quixotic quest.

I loved it. Warning: this will keep you reading.’ – Ann Morgan, author of Reading the World: Confessions of a Literary Explorer

Delivery options

Orders are processed and dispatched Monday to Friday.

Estimated Dispatch Times:

Items are usually dispatched within twenty-four to seventy-two hours. Dispatch time does not include delivery. If one or more items are not available when you place your order there may be a delay in dispatch, so that we can send your items in as few parcels as possible. 

Latest UK Delivery Estimates

  • 1st Class - 1-2 working days
  • 2nd Class -  2-3 working days
  • Free Click and Collect at Daunt Books Marylebone

Latest International Delivery Estimates

  • Europe - Standard 7-10 working days
  • Europe - Tracked and Signed 4-7 working days
  • Rest of the World - Standard 15-20 working days
  • Rest of the World - Tracked and Signed 10-15 working days

Ongoing Covid restrictions, reduced air and freight capacity, high volumes and winter weather conditions are all impacting transportation and local delivery across the globe. 

Overseas Delivery Information

We are experiencing delays with deliveries to many countries, but in most cases local services have now resumed. For more details, please consult the latest information provided by Royal Mail's International Incident Bulletin.

Overseas Customs

If you are ordering goods for delivery outside of the UK, please note that your consignment may be subject to import duties and taxes, which are levied once the goods reach the country of destination.

Any such charges levied in relation to customs clearance must be paid by you. It is accepted by you that Daunt Books has no control over additional charges in relation to customs clearance. We recommend that you check with your local customs officials or post office for more information regarding importation taxes/duties that may be applicable to your online order as this changes country to country. 

Additional information

Weight 1 kg
Dimensions 25 × 17 × 8 cm