Guild of Xenolinguists

Posted by on April 7, 2011

(Originally posted on February 9, 2008, in the original Random Dewey blog)

Continuing the languages and linguistics streak: The Guild of Xenolinguists, by Sheila Finch. Eleven stories (1988-2007) about “insterstellar cross-cultural communication,” as it says on the book jacket.

The first story, which is also the newest, is about first contact with an alien being without aid of Star Trek translators or any other skiffy language aid.

I’m almost halfway through the book. Fifth story. The stories share a universe but for the most part don’t have recurring characters. The Guild seems to be almost monastic in nature. members are trained for years, from childhood, to be neutral when translating for the various species — neutral not only in opinion but also in emotion.

Today, at work, M, who does library outreach at the high schools, noticed the book cover and asked whether I though the book would be suitable for YA. She thought they would like the cover. I described what I’d read so far and found her a good description of the book line. I guess I’d better hurry and finish reading it so I can pass it on to her.


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