“Welcome to the logophiles and the linguists, to those who speak one language and to those who speak in many tongues, to the older and the younger, to those with high expectations and even higher dreams, to those who don’t know quite where they are yet, to those who have picked up this book not knowing quite what it is…”
I read an article recently that underscored the value of learning a second language. As an advocate of second language acquisition — the process and product of learning — this delights me to no end: words and language are my heartbeat. I love the invitation above from THE ILLUSTRATED BOOK OF SAYINGS, to enter into a world of more than fifty cultural expressions, proverbs, and idioms in their native languages with translations and etymology. There’s the French idiom that comes from the Tour de France race “pedaler dans la choucroute” [to pedal in the sauerkraut], the endearing Spanish “tu eres mi media naranja” [you are my orange half], and the Latvian “oust pilites” [to blow little ducks].
Also pictured is a book that began with the author’s run-in with an intriguing word from the Portuguese language. OTHER-WORDLY uncovers how various languages describe the simple and the profound. The Icelandic adjective “hoppipolla” describes the act of jumping into puddles and “nefelibata” in Portuguese and Spanish is a person who lives in the clouds of their imagination or dreams, while the single German noun “fernweh” encapsulates an ache for travel or distant places.
Both books are beautiful tributes to words, language, and culture. They’d make a wonderful gift for a fellow language aficionado. OTHER-WORDLY is written by Yee-Lum Mak, illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley, and published by Chronicle Books. THE ILLUSTRATED BOOK OF SAYINGS is written and illustrated by Ella Frances Sanders and published by Ten Speed Press.