Book review: When in French. Love in a Second Language by Lauren Collins


What a treat for a linguist! I loved every single page for the author’s humour, curiosity, witty observations and passion for languages. It tells the story of an American who moves to London, then to Geneva and then to…? The book is also about communication between languages, countries and cultures. And there are a couple of paragraphs on untranslatable words, too. My favourite quotations are below. When in French is a fantastic read, particularly for bilinguals, linguists, translators, language tutors & learners and for those in love with a foreigner 😉

“Talking to you in English,” he said, “is like touching you with gloves.” P.29

“A language is the only subject you can’t learn by yourself.” P. 143 Lauren Collins

“To be successful at learning a language, one has to undertake a form of time travel, regressing to a childlike state of unembarrassed receptivity, in order to stand a chance of turning into a respectable adult.” P. 144

“Bilinguals overwhelmingly report that they feel like different people in different languages.” P. 187

Written by Kinga Macalla

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