Say pu. Your lips are pursed, nose wrinkled. There is an unpleasant look on your face. And pu in the Stone Age meant just what it means today – poo. On the other hand, mei makes your mouth stretch from side to side. It makes you do what you are saying – smile.
The hundreds of one syllable words used by Stone Age people are the roots of many words now used by half of the world. Christopher Stevens takes the reader through the alphabet describing the words that sprang from the roots, beginning with Ak (to be sharp or quick) and ending with Wid (to see truly).
He sprinkles the chapters with humor and is quite thorough. Perhaps he is a bit too thorough, for by the middle of the alphabet (Lab, to hand down) it was becoming a little monotonous. Also, I had hoped to learn how researchers assembled a language that had never been recorded. But, alas, that was never explained.
The book is interesting and informative, although I would suggest reading a few chapters at a time.
eGalley review Publication date 11.15.15