Language is a wild animal: rough, ambiguous, inconsistent in countless ways. But that just makes it all the more tempting to tame it. Many have tried, from sticklers for supposedly correct grammar to inventors of supposedly perfect languages; from software engineers working on machine translation to governments that see language management as politics by another means. But when you enter the lair of a wild beast, you can be lucky to escape with your wits.

reviews and QUOTES

“Short, lively and thoroughly researched, it’s a valuable history and vivisection of what ought to be linguistic dead horses—one that promotes a tolerant and humane view of language that will unite, not divide.” - The Times Literary Supplement

“[Greene] celebrates the very fact that language is wayward, arguing that to try to contain it within hard rules is to miss its point and its wonder…He is open-minded and discerning (if you need a basic rule: look at what good writers do, and do that), but he’s no zealot and no snob.” - The Spectator

“An enjoyable, informative and persuasive read.” - The Irish Times

“What unites Mr Greene's roles as language pundit and editor is a passion for language in all its variety and complexity, making for a lively and fascinating read.” - Simon Horobin, Oxford University

"Erudite and ebullient." - Kirkus 

"Lane Greene is a superb commentator on language and linguistics." - Steven Pinker

"Lane Greene has succeeded in penning a book that will answer absolutely any question anyone in 2018 has about language, where it was and where it's going. Of course, if you want to know about some specific word, then you'll have to consult a dictionary - but Talk on the Wild Side will even help you do a better job of that!" - John McWhorter

"We think alike on language, only Lane Greene knows more" - Neil Gaiman

"Language is wild. Lane Greene understands why, and he writes about it with wit, style, and intelligence. If you have ever turned your nose up at what you think is a grammar error, or wondered about an odd phrase, you will love this book, and learn from every page of it." - Geoffrey K. Pullum


What is it about other people’s language that moves some of us to anxiety or even rage? For centuries, sticklers the world over have donned the cloak of authority to control the way people use words. Now this sensational book strikes back to defend the fascinating, real-life diversity of this most basic human faculty.

Reviews and QUOTES 

"Greene comes into his own in his knowledgeable discussion of the politics of language in nations from Turkey to Israel to India, and of the folly in trying to regulate language from the top down." - New York Times

"Greene argues perceptively and passionately." - Publishers Weekly

"When it comes to language, irrational passion is unfortunately much more common than true love. This smart and clear-eyed tour of language attitudes around the world will show you how to love language the right way." - Arika Okrent, author of In the Land of Invented Languages

"A fascinating glimpse at the global politics of language variation." - Kirkus