Weidenfeld & Nicolson has acquired Don't Believe a Word, a new book by linguist David Shariatmadari investigating "the science of language", after a six-way auction.
Shariatmadari is a writer and editor at the Guardian, where he writes a linguistics column called Buzzwords. His book, subtitled Why Almost Everything You Think You Know About Language Is Wrong, will challenge readers by exploding nine widely-held myths about language while introducing them to some of the fundamental insights of modern linguistics.
Jenny Lord, publishing director for Weidenfeld & Nicolson Non-fiction, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in a six-way auction from Chris Wellbelove at Aitken Alexander Associates, to publish in hardback and e-book in September 2019.
Lord said: "It is David’s view that common knowledge of language is in the state common knowledge of physics was before Galileo. Clearly this is something we need to put right. And with his entertaining, energetic and highly informed guide to the subject we are sure David will do just that. We are a company full of self-confessed language nerds and couldn’t be more delighted that David chose W&N as his publishing home."
Shariatmadari said: "I’ve been entranced and delighted by the facts I’ve learned about language over the years, and I want to share them as widely as possible. There’s nothing like discovering a completely new way of looking at something you use every day. That’s what linguistics is all about for me. Weidenfeld and Nicolson feels like exactly the right home for Don't Believe a Word. It's a huge privilege to be working with a publisher that has such a distinguished track record in serious non-fiction."