Help me name my book!
April 17, 2013 2:18 PM   Subscribe

I'm writing a book for a major publisher on language learning, and we're currently in the process of figuring out/fighting over a title+subtitle(+sub-subtitle) combo. Here's the issue: the book crosses two genres. Originally, it was simply a how-to book, with a step-by-step method for learning any language quickly. But over the course of writing and researching it, it's turned into a discussion about the science of memory and learning, how we learn languages, why we generally don't succeed at learning them in school, and what to do differently. It's become interesting, not just on a how-to level, but on an intellectual how-do-our-brains-work sort of level. This is great news from an audience standpoint – we've added a whole new potential audience (people who aren't looking for a how-to-learn-a-language book, but *are* interested in how their brains work) – but it's very tricky from a title standpoint. How do you choose a title that conveys the How-to nature of the book and the How-your-brain-works part at the same time?

In terms of other material that comes into the mix, one of the constant themes running through the book is Play - that if you're not enjoying yourself, you're going to have an extremely difficult time remembering anything. Most of the methods in the book turn language learning into a kind of game. Ideally, the title would reflect that.

In terms of the aspects of science covered, the book is *primarily* about memory, although it does get into discussions about humans learn to intuit grammar and a bit of computational linguistics (using computers to figure out the most useful words in a language).

In terms of tools, it builds a language from the ground up, starting with sounds, adding simple vocabulary using pictures, and learning grammar and more complex vocabulary based upon that foundation of simple vocabulary, effectively cutting out any English translation from the beginning.

It is relatively computer/web focused, drawing on a lot of free internet resources, things like using Google Images, internet exchange communities,'s recording databases, etc.

So! Any help in the brainstorming process would be much appreciated! I have a pile of 20-50 titles so far, which I can add to the discussion, but I'm not sure whether they'll help or hinder, so I'll at least wait a bit and see what happens before adding them. Many thanks
posted by sdis to Writing & Language (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
"Your Brain At Work And Play," by sdis.
posted by Lynsey at 2:27 PM on April 17, 2013

Learn Any Language...Like a Boss
The Perils of Polyglots
Speech Easy
Play It to Say It

I think I'd have a catchphrase on the cover, too, something like, "Step up your game plan with the ultimate playbook for prospective polyglots." But I'm just spitballin' here.
posted by misha at 2:55 PM on April 17, 2013

Oh, or, instead of Playing With Words, Maybe just Word Play?
posted by misha at 2:56 PM on April 17, 2013

Babble on
posted by kanemano at 3:14 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Learn to Play, Play to Learn?
posted by Jacen at 3:33 PM on April 17, 2013

I'm thinking of something like the title of this book (the first thing I could find that fit), which conveys that you are going to learn about it and how to do it.
posted by theuninvitedguest at 3:35 PM on April 17, 2013

Playing in Tongues.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:53 PM on April 17, 2013

How Learn Language: How to, and how you, learn.
posted by mittens at 4:34 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Game Your Brain to Foreign Language Fluency

Gaming Your Brain to Learn a Language

Learn a Language by Gaming Your Brain

How Your Brain Can Learn Any Language

Unlocking Your Brain's Language-Learning Capacity

The Language Learning Brain: How to Make It Work for You

The Language-Learning Brain: How to Master Any Foreign Language
posted by Dansaman at 6:37 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Language Game: Playing with Memory

Unlock Any Language: How Memory, Learning and Play Connect
posted by mikepop at 5:17 AM on April 18, 2013

Why You Learn & Why You Don't:
(A step-by-step path to learning any language)
posted by mule98J at 8:42 AM on April 18, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks all! Our current title is The Language Brain, and we'll see if it sticks :)
posted by sdis at 1:59 PM on May 19, 2013

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