Author: Paul Anthony Jones
Publication date: 01/12/2022
Imprint: SIMON & SCHUSTER
A fascinating exploration of the nuts& and bolts of human language.
Why don’t eleven and twelve end in -teen? The rest of our counting system sits in neatly arithmetical sets of ten, so why do these two rulebreakers seem so at odds to the numbers that follow them? &
Admittedly, that’s probably a question you’ve never thought to ask. But if you’re even remotely interested in the origins and oddities of language, it’s likely also a question you’re now intrigued to know the answer to. Nor is it the only question: take a moment to think about how our language operates and even more spring mind. Why do these letters look the way they do? Why are some uppercase and others lowercase? Why are these words in this order? How are you understanding what these seemingly arbitrary shapes and symbols mean, while doubtless hearing them read to you in a voice inside your head? And what is this question mark really doing at this end of this sentence?
Books explaining the origins of our language’s most intriguing words and phrases have long proved popular, but they often overlook the true nuts and bolts of our languages: the origins our alphabet and writing system; grammatical rules and conventions; the sound structure of language; and even how our brains and bodies interpret and communicate language itself. Why Is This A Question? redresses that balance, and explores many complex yet fascinating linguistic disciplines across its chapters, each exploring a question you’ve likely never thought to ask. & &
Praise for The Cabinet of Calm&
‘I love this gifty and gorgeous compendium of beguiling words from which you can select to soothe the troubles that afflict you… [A] warm bath of linguistic remedies.’ Caroline Sanderson, The Bookseller (Editor’s Choice: May 2020)&
‘Fantastic . . . Exactly the book that everybody needs.’ Simon Mayo&