***'Wonderful. You finish the book more alive than ever to the enduring mystery and miracle of that thing that makes us most human' STEPHEN FRY'Most popular books on language dumb down; Shariatmadari's smartens things up, and is all the more entertaining for it' THE SUNDAY TIMES, a Book of the Year'A meaty, rewarding and necessary read' GUARDIAN'Fascinating and thought-provoking . . . crammed with weird and wonderful facts . . . for anyone who delights in linguistics it's a richly rewarding read' MAIL ON SUNDAY ***- A word's origin doesn't tell you what it means today- There are languages that change when your mother-in-law is present- The language you speak could make you more prone to accidents- There's a special part of the brain that produces swear wordsTaking us on a mind-boggling journey through the science of language, linguist David Shariatmadari uncovers the truth about what we do with words, exploding nine widely-held myths about language while introducing us to some of the fundamental insights of modern linguistics.