EVERY WORD IS A BIRD WE TEACH TO SING, Encounters with the Mysteries and Meanings of Language by Daniel Tammet


I loved reading this book. Daniel Tammet has a passion for language – for how it takes shape and how it shapes the world – and he shares that passion with articulate joy. He is such an interesting person and this comes through in his writing. His intellect and focus are sharp, his perceptions augmented by his own experience. Tammet is an autistic savant with a facility for numbers and languages. His personal experiences with language and how he relates to it are, by far, the most interesting parts of the book, but all of it is well written and entertaining.

And let me ask you this – is it possible to read the title of this book without smiling? I read it and reread it and each time it comes at me like a small poem. It expands and expands…

6 comments on “EVERY WORD IS A BIRD WE TEACH TO SING, Encounters with the Mysteries and Meanings of Language by Daniel Tammet”

  1. Numbers and languages, sounds like a fast friend — thanks again for bringing yet another book to my attention that I haven’t heard of! You have quite a library over there 🙂


  2. Daniel Tammet is a wonderful find for me. I mean, come on, the languages of letters & numbers lights up my brain! I’m happily googling him. YouTube documentary, TED Talk, reciting the digits of pi…

    Bird is a Word. Where in the heck was this stored in that brain of mine? (by the Trashmen)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This song is also in my memory bank, but I would have never retrieved it in connection with title of Daniel Tammet’s book. It was so much fun watching the video!
    Aren’t the workings of our brains amazing. This book is intriguing on so many levels. I spent my career as a speech therapist, and I worked with many children and young adults on the autism spectrum. I always loved the many unique perspectives these students brought to life. I look forward to reading this book.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A little more about Tammet. Though he was born in England in an English speaking family, the language did not come easily to him. His native language, his interior language was numerical. He is a synesthete, for him numbers have a visual component. They have a shape, a color, a texture. Sometimes movement and often a sensation or emotion. Though he is clearly at home with English now – and French and Icelandic and Esperanto and several others – he did not start that way.

    Each essay in the book addresses a specific language. There is one on Manx, the ancient language spoken on the Isle of Mann. There is one on Sign Language. There is an essay on OuLiPo, the entire thing written without the letter “e.” It is delightful, very playful. For him, language is clearly a fascinating construct and a way of constructing our world.

    Liked by 2 people

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