If you were to master the 20 languages discussed in ‘Babel’ you could chat to more than half the world’s population. Actually, you could talk to another quarter of the world, who speak them as second languages. As he did in Lingo, Gaston Dorren delves deep into the linguistic oddities and extraordinary stories of these global tongues, tracing their origins and tracking their sometimes bloody rise to greatness. He listens to their distinctly un-English sounds and deciphers their bewildering array of scripts, presents the gems and gaps in their vocabularies and charts their inventive coinages and surprising loans. He explains the oddities of their grammars, which order their speakers’ worldview but often appear bafflingly complex to outsiders. Learn why Russian has no word for blue, how Turkish stopped borrowing words, and why Arabic is possibly the hardest global language to learn.