Biting the Wax Tadpole
Misadventures of an Armchair Linguist
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What can Johnny Cash’s lyrics teach us about the little-known Tangut dialect? Is ‘tabernacle’ really a swear word in Quebecois? Which language has absolutely no verbs? What is Earth’s politest insult? And what is biting the wax tadpole actually a translation of?* Prepare for a hilarious rollercoaster ride through hundreds of well-known, obscure, difficult, dead and even made-up languages. Elizabeth Little has waded through innumerable verb tables in every available mood and tense, untangled up to eighteen cases of noun, and wrestled with all kinds of complicated adjective, participles and glottal stops to bring you the best and most bizarre quirks of the ways people communicate all around the globe. From the language that has no different word for ‘blue’ or ‘green’, to why Icelanders need official permission to name their children, from what makes a Korean TV hit to what people might think you’re saying if you order eggs in Spain, Biting the Wax Tadpole will ensure you’re never lost for words again. *Coca-Cola, would you believe it?