Mini reviews: two non-fiction audiobooks // linguistics and climate change

mini reviews

What do linguistics and climate change have to do with each other? Well, nothing, but these were two reviews I had ready that could be easily grouped together!

I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, but sometimes I get ARCs from libro.fm and the topics are interesting enough that I start listening. Sometimes the books are recommended by my prof of climate science and I read them, then have regrets.

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45993328Think you know language? Think again.

There are languages that change when your mother-in-law is present.
The language you speak could make you more prone to accidents.
Swear words are produced in a special part of your brain.

Over the past few decades, we have reached new frontiers of linguistic knowledge. Linguists can now explain how and why language changes, describe its structures, and map its activity in the brain. But despite these advances, much of what people believe about language is based on folklore, instinct, or hearsay. We imagine a word’s origin is it’s “true” meaning, that foreign languages are full of “untranslatable” words, or that grammatical mistakes undermine English. In Don’t Believe A Word, linguist David Shariatmadari takes us on a mind-boggling journey through the science of language, urging us to abandon our prejudices in a bid to uncover the (far more interesting) 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, Shariatmadari is an energetic guide to the beauty and quirkiness of humanity’s greatest achievement.

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I was sent this book as an advance listening copy via libro.fm for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

★★★★✩

I really liked listening to this, I’ve always been interested in language in a broad sense and the premise of this book immediately made me want to start it.

I knew nothing about linguistics so I can’t say whether this was an advanced book or not, certainly experts of the field will be able to judge it differently than me but I thought things were explained clearly for someone like me and I never found it too difficult.

Because of its format (I listened to the audiobook) there were certain parts that felt a bit awkward and I would have maybe wished to read myself, but overall it was a great listen and if you can only do nonfiction in audio format (like me) I highly recommend it.

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15981107A vital new moral perspective on the climate change debate.

Esteemed philosopher John Broome avoids the familiar ideological stances on climate change policy and examines the issue through an invigorating new lens. As he considers the moral dimensions of climate change, he reasons clearly through what universal standards of goodness and justice require of us, both as citizens and as governments. His conclusions—some as demanding as they are logical—will challenge and enlighten. Eco-conscious readers may be surprised to hear they have a duty to offset all their carbon emissions, while policy makers will grapple with Broome’s analysis of what if anything is owed to future generations. From the science of greenhouse gases to the intricate logic of cap and trade, Broome reveals how the principles that underlie everyday decision making also provide simple and effective ideas for confronting climate change. Climate Matters is an essential contribution to one of the paramount issues of our time.

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★★

I wanted to read this for a course I’m doing at university and I only have a few thoughts to share:

• it’s very outdated (which is probably not its fault, 2012 was practically centuries ago if we consider the rate at which climate is changing)
• it’s way too philosophical/economical for this poor science student

While it was interesting to read things from a different point of view than my own, it was also very disquieting and some things gave me chills because of the sheer objectivity in which they were shared, as if we aren’t talked about the literal lives of people. I acknowledge that this philosophy/economy/ethics world is not at all mine and I will just stick to the science thank you very much.

(Also can the author stop using “she/her” when referring to a generic person, just use they ffs.)

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Have you read one of these?

2 thoughts on “Mini reviews: two non-fiction audiobooks // linguistics and climate change

    1. yeah, it’s a science that keeps evolving soooo quickly, you really can’t rely on older books for it. ahhh i hope you enjoy the linguistics one if you get to it!

      Liked by 1 person

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