Every Word Is a Bird We Teach to Sing: Encounters with the Mysteries and Meanings of Language (Hardcover)
From an early age, Daniel Tammet had an unusual relationship to language. Words became numbers to him; that was how he made sense of the world. As an adult, he was diagnosed as a "high functioning autistic savant." Tammet developed an impassioned attachment to words and languages as he matured. This passion is infectious and one finds oneself drawn into his curiosity and enthusiasm for the arcane. In his hands, language becomes an experiential and physical sensation. This is a beautiful and engaging book. -Greg— From Fall Booknotes 2017
A mind-expanding, deeply humane tour of language by the bestselling author of Born on a Blue Day and Thinking in Numbers.
Is vocabulary destiny? Why do clocks "talk" to the Nahua people of Mexico? Will A.I. researchers ever produce true human-machine dialogue? In this mesmerizing collection of essays, Daniel Tammet answers these and many other questions about the intricacy and profound power of language.
In Every Word Is a Bird We Teach to Sing, Tammet goes back in time to London to explore the numeric language of his autistic childhood; in Iceland, he learns why the name Blaer became a court case; in Canada, he meets one of the world's most accomplished lip readers. He chats with chatbots; contrives an "e"-less essay on lipograms; studies the grammar of the telephone; contemplates the significance of disappearing dialects; and corresponds with native Esperanto speakers - in their mother tongue.
A joyous romp through the world of words, letters, stories, and meanings, Every Word Is a Bird We Teach to Sing explores the way communication shapes reality. From the art of translation to the lyricism of sign language, these essays display the stunning range of Tammet's literary and polyglot talents.
About the Author
Daniel Tammet is an essayist, novelist and translator. He is the author of Thinking in Numbers, Embracing the Wide Sky, and the New York Times bestseller Born on a Blue Day. Tammet is Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). He lives in Paris.