The Prodigal Tongue explores the way that languages are likely to transform and be transformed by their speakers during the twenty-first century. In places like Los Angeles, Tokyo, Singapore and Oxford, author Mark Abley encounters hip-hop performers and dictionary makers, bloggers and translators, novelists and therapists. He talks to a married couple who were passionately corresponding online before they met in “meatspace.” And he listens to teenagers, puzzling out the words they coin in chat rooms and virtual worlds. Everywhere he goes, he asks what the future is likely to hold for the ways we communicate. Abley balances a traditional concern for honesty and accuracy in language with an untraditional delight in newly minted expressions.