Study Guide

Snow Crash Language and Communication

By Neal Stephenson

Language and Communication

Language is cool—it can shape your brain from birth, and alter your brain in adulthood—and Snow Crash digs deep into its impact, exploring notions of linguistic infrastructure, glossolalia (speaking in tongues), and neurolinguistic programming.

Sure, this is all a mouthful (see what we did there?) but the main point is that language is a tool: In the hands of the right people, it's constructive and lets folks communicate, while in the hands of the wrong people, it can be destructive beyond measure. Read on for a tour of the ways in which language can mess up your brain. And then remember to choose your words carefully.

Questions About Language and Communication

  1. Why is a language like a virus?
  2. Which characters are multilingual? How does it affect their chances of success in the book?
  3. Why did ancient Sumerian drop off the face of the planet?
  4. How does glossolalia work in the book? What causes it?

Chew on This

Juanita proved that facial expressions are as potent a means of communication as spoken language, if not more so.

Speaking in tongues is hands down the creepiest thing in the book.