"Lingo: A Language Spotter's Guide to Europe" by Gaston Dorren (translated from the original Dutch by Alison Edwards) is a fascinating introduction to European linguistics for the complete novice. This book does an excellent job of explaining how historical, cultural and linguistic factors have combined to influence the development of the European languages we recognise today, and also points out links between languages many would never have expected, as well as explaining how this came about.
As the title suggests, this book really is 'The European Guidebook for Linguists', with chapters for each European language. Interestingly, the language chapters also end with a selection of words which English has 'borrowed' from the language in question, and also words for which there is no equivalent in English, but perhaps should be!
A short note regarding the translation here - Alison Edwards has done an excellent job. This absolutely reads like a work written in English. I am sure, due to the subject matter and frequent bilingual content, that this was a challenging translation to work on. It's great to see this book succeeding in a new market thanks to a talented translator!
A highly recommended book for translators, linguists or anyone with a general interest in language, travel or European history and culture.
by Gaston Dorren [Profile Books Ltd]