The loquacious Professor Pei verbalizes easily and more or less at random about words--languages yesterday, today and tomorrow. He muses on origins--Indo--European roots (ank--to bend is in both the Anglo Saxon anclcow, the Latin anchora) and the likeness between ""baby"" and ""barbarian"" or the differing verbalizations of a cock's crow. He tells how to be impolite in twenty-seven languages, notes words that betray (would-be draft dodgers) origins, points out what's in a name and what languages are still extant in Latin America (Quichua for one). He remarks on McLuhan (""The medium is not the message""), on the written language and its chances for survival, on the paperback, on languages for scientists, teaching the young, an international language (he opts for Esperanto). Word-play for Peisanos.