Friday, February 10, 2017


Before there was Google Translate, there was Giuseppe Mezzofanti, chief Vatican librarian, who could fluently speak 50 languages and translate 114 more. Wow! And I can't even read both sides of a cereal box. That wouldn't have held back Sir John Bowring. He, a British governor of Hong Kong, could speak 100 languages and read 100 more. Owed it all to his dictionary collection I bet.  Mind you, what's not to love about dictionaries, words rolling off your tongue, foreign and unknown. They were some of my favourite books when I was young. I especially loved the lists of words arranged by grade level at the front of the World Book Encyclopedia Dictionary, A-K. Vocabulary and spelling from Grade One to College were there, tantalizing and tempting. Words, wonderful words. And of course I loved the Merriam Websters Dictionary, wedged in my desk. Loved its small sketched illustrations too.

I've been savoring two delicious reads of late.
May I recommend Native Tongues by Charles Berlitz. If you love trivia you'll adore this book. Everything you ever wanted to know about language is there for your edification and entertainment.
And I've also been reading Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane. He is brilliant and poetic and completely captivating. He refers to at least ten authors whose books have inspired his own writing and they have been added to 'the list,' along with his other works, The Old Ways, The Wild Places, Holloway, and Mountains of the Mind.

Hay alegria en el aprendizaje!! 

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