At Avantpage, we’re a bunch of word nerds. We love language and most anything having to do with it, whether it’s books, games or toys. With the holidays coming up, we wanted to share the holiday gifts that we’d love to receive this year. Hopefully, it inspires you and makes it easier to shop for a holiday gift for the language lover in your life.
The creators of Chatter Bags share a common goal with our team: to make conversation and connect and integrate people and communities from all over the world in many ways. That probably explains why we love these 100% cotton, ethically sourced canvas bags that allow you to communicate what language you speak or your interests by marking a square on the bag. They’re great for travelers and students as holiday gifts! The bags are made in England and priced at £6.99 or $9.17. For more info and to shop, visit chatterbags.com/shop.
|Foreign Language Blocks
Teach your baby another language from the beginning with these beautifully made alphabet blocks in Spanish and Mandarin. Each block is embossed to give it a classic look inspired by traditional blocks. They are handcrafted in Michigan of Basswood grown in the Great Lakes area and printed with non-toxic inks. The blocks feature beveled edges for a more comfortable hold. Foreign Language Blocks are $36.95 and available here: uncommongoods.com/product/foreign-language-blocks.
|Language Learning Notebook
This is a great gift for a student! This is a simple and useful notebook has 48 pages of paper that are uniquely lined and designed to help you study languages more efficiently. This is a great notebook to purchase as a holiday gift for anyone studying a new language! Each notebook is $6.95 and they are available here: mochithings.com/products/12683.
|Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World
This book brings to life more than 50 words without a direct English translation using charming illustrations of their tender, poignant, and humorous definitions. Often these words provide insight into the cultures they come from, such as the Brazilian Portuguese word for running your fingers through a lover’s hair or the Italian word for being moved to tears by a story. It’s $11.99 for a hardcover copy and available at Amazon.com.
|The Illustrated Book of Sayings: Curious Expressions from Around the World
This book is great to package with “Lost in Translation” or to give as a follow-up holiday gift. Created by the same New York Times bestselling author, “The Illustrated Book of Sayings” is another charmingly illustrated collection of more than 50 expressions from around the globe that explore the nuances of language. It’s $10.86 for a hardcover copy and available at Amazon.com.
|Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages
The debate is ages old: Where does language come from? Is it an artifact of our culture or written in our very DNA? In recent years, leading linguists have seemingly settled the issue: all languages are fundamentally the same and the particular language we speak does not shape our thinking in any significant way. Guy Deutscher, says they’re wrong. From Homer to Darwin, from Yale to the Amazon, and through a strange and dazzling history of the color blue, Deutscher argues that our mother tongues do indeed shape our experiences of the world. It’s available in hardcover, paperback or Kindle, and available on Amazon.com.
|Other-Wordly: Words Both Strange and Lovely From Around the World
Discover words to surprise, delight, and enamor. Learn terms for the sunlight that filters through the leaves of trees, for dancing awkwardly but with relish, and for the look shared by two people who each wish the other would speak first. Other-Wordly is an irresistible holiday gift for lovers of words and those lost for words alike. It’s available in paperback or Kindle, and available on Amazon.com.
|A Dictionary of Obscenities
No, we’re not kidding. A dictionary of these, ahem, colorful phrases can help bring life to reading literature in a foreign language and can increase understanding. For a list of books in various languages, check out Amazon.com.
|A proud t-shirt
Wear your linguistic skills proudly with a shirt that proclaims your abilities. Check out this version, which says “I speak Polish. What’s your superpower?” here.
|The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature
In The Stuff of Thought, Bestselling author Steven Pinker presents a fascinating look at how our words explain our nature. Considering scientific questions with examples from everyday life, The Stuff of Thought is a brilliantly crafted and highly readable work that will appeal to fans of everything from The Selfish Gene and Blink to Eats, Shoots & Leaves. It’s available in hardcover, paperback, Kindle or audiobook on Amazon.com.