It occurs to me that I forgot all about John McWhorter’s Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue . I’d previously read his The Power of Babel and found it excellent, so was very interested in this smaller, lighter-looking book.

And light it was. This is basically McWhorter ranting on about how this or that point of disputed linguistic theory is obviously right, and those motherfuckers who disagree with him are goddamn idiots who couldn’t linguize their way through a plate of linguini. He uses many exclamation points — multiple at a time in places — and you can practically hear him slam down his fist every time he writes “Period.”

The overall effect is that of sitting at a hotel bar when a linguistics convention is in town, and listening to the most entertaining drunk you’ve ever sat next to. It’s not a deep or serious book, and I’d recommend McWhorter’s other book first, but this is a light bit of enjoyable fluff.


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