Book Review – Lingo: A Language Spotter’s Guide to Europe’ by Gaston Dorren



I fell in love with linguistics when I was studying for my A-levels. I might have ended up as a historian but I still love reading up on linguistics and exploring the topic every now and then. When Gaston Dorren’s ‘Lingo – A Language Spotter’s Guide to Europe’ came out I was over the moon as it is the perfect little book for anyone who loves languages but has little time to dedicate themselves to the subject properly.

The premise of the book is an exploration of the majority of the languages used in Europe and exploring an interesting little quirk of each. The book is absolutely jam-packed with fascinating information. The book is great for dipping in and out or sitting with for a long period of time completely engrossed. I certainly enjoyed continuing the reading from my commute to my sofa with a good cup of tea.

The thing I learnt from this book overall is the sheer diversity of languages spoken on our small continent. I loved this as a writer, especially a one who creates fantasy worlds, because I hadn’t realised until I read this book just how limiting I had been in creating languages for my world. While I don’t dig deep into the nitty gritty and actually create words and grammar, I do generally hint at the different languages and their names. I’d already grasped the idea that in the majority what is referred to is the standardised language and that there are regional differences that most are un-aware of, what I hadn’t clued up on is that for the size of the world I am planning on creating I hadn’t created anywhere near enough diversity.

This is a lovely little book full of fascinating facts about Europe’s languages which will interest even complete novices and is a vital resource for writer’s planning on building fantasy story-worlds.


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