Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World

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Harper Collins, Mar 22, 2011 - History - 640 pages
12 Reviews

Nicholas Ostler's Empires of the Word is the first history of the world's great tongues, gloriously celebrating the wonder of words that binds communities together and makes possible both the living of a common history and the telling of it. From the uncanny resilience of Chinese through twenty centuries of invasions to the engaging self-regard of Greek and to the struggles that gave birth to the languages of modern Europe, these epic achievements and more are brilliantly explored, as are the fascinating failures of once "universal" languages. A splendid, authoritative, and remarkable work, it demonstrates how the language history of the world eloquently reveals the real character of our planet's diverse peoples and prepares us for a linguistic future full of surprises.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - krista.rutherford - LibraryThing

If you, like me, are interested in linguistics and big-picture world history, this is the book. Looking at the history of world powers not in terms of political boundaries but of groups defined by ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DinadansFriend - LibraryThing

I think this a superior production, and Mr. Ostler seems to know his business. There are even some hints about how a tongue can connive towards its own longevity. Read full review

Contents

Europes Languages Abroad
12Microcosm or Distorting Mirror?The Career of English
PART IVLANGUAGES TODAY AND TOMORROW
13The Current Top Twenty
14Looking Ahead
NOTES
BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX

The Cultured Career of Sanskrit
The Adventures of Greek
Celt Roman German and Slav
8The First Death of Latin
LANGUAGES BY SEA
9The Second Death of Latin
Spanish in the New World
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
About the Author
PICTURE CREDITS
PRAISE FOR Empires of the Word
Copyright
About the Publisher
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

A scholar with a working knowledge of twenty-six languages, Nicholas Ostler has degrees from Oxford University in Greek, Latin, philosophy, and economics, and a Ph.D. in linguistics from MIT, where he studied under Noam Chomsky. He lives in Bath, England.

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