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Peter Frankopan: The book that changed my life

"It was like a rite of passage—one that got me thinking about relationships between languages, about how they evolve, change and borrow from each other"

By Peter Frankopan  

The Loom of Language by Frederick Bodmer

We spent our summer holidays by a lake, set in the middle of a forest in Sweden—miles from anywhere, anyone or anything. It didn’t take long to start working through my grandfather’s book collection and to get hooked by Russian novels of the 19th century.

These all made a big impact on me; but so too did a book published in 1944 by Frederick Bodmer called The Loom of Language. “What language we habitually speak,” he says at the start, “depends upon a geographical accident.” It has nothing…

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