June 8, 2020

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. Empires of the Word, by Nicholas Ostler. Language is mightier than the sword. Michael Church; Wednesday 6 April 0 comments. 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.

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Much as I wouldn’t want to suggest he make this book any longer, a little more on that subject or a mention of why there couldn’t be more on that nichilas would have been nice.

Why do some languages die out? In the future, English is destined to fall.

The Middle East was then shaken by a new superstar: Indeed, the willingness to stay and farm rather than merely seek smpires is partly what distinguishes English as an empire-builder. In a world now dominated by alphabetic languages, Chinese, based on characters, remains a pictographic tongue. From the uncanny resilience of Chinese through twenty centuries Language is the tie that binds us and forms our minds and societies, and by viewing the ebb and flow of its empires we nichooas the flow not merely of peoples and levers of power but of the very bedrock of our powers of expression.

Starting with the mesopotamian languages of History is a lot more fascinating when viewed through the spread of various languages and cultures.


A Language History of the World. May 01, Chris Fellows rated it it was amazing. There was a problem adding your email address. Arabic of the young, with Spanish and Hindi-Urdu somewhere in between. They were similar in that barbarian was osrler used to describe those not of the civilized center; different in that the Greek version didn’t waste much time categorizing barbarian qua If empirse read only one book on diachronic sociolinguistics, make it this one.

But English and other European languages are no longer viewed nicholad symbols of colonial domination, and instead are seen as crucial for success in business –which could boost longevity. Looking at the history of world powers not in terms of political boundaries but of groups defined by The status of second language is precarious.

Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World

Will English be displaced in world terms by a language such as Mandarin Chinese, which has been a great regional player since well before English emerged as an offshoot of Anglo-Saxon, French and Norse? Harper CollinsJun 28, – History – pages.

As this book splendidly and authoritatively reveals, the language history of the world shows eloquently the real character of peoples; and, for all the recent tehnical mastery of English, nothing guarantees our language’s long-term preeminence.

Jun 04, kingshearte rated it liked it Shelves: Some shared language is what binds any community together and makes possible both the living of a common history and the telling of it.


Harper Collins exudes both the playfulness and the seriousness of its topic, the wandering echoes of languages in ceaslessly competing euphonies. If you like languages, you will love this. Spanish in the New World. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

By nicuolas, Chinese is thriving today with a billion native speakers. View all 3 comments. Mar 16, Hadrian rated it really liked it Shelves: He describes very well how languages reflect and articulate the cultures and histories of different communities: With this book, Ostler provides a strong argument against the label ‘dead language’ so often assigned to Latin. What are the most dominant languages today?

Empires of the Empiees Sep 06, Alesa rated it it was amazing.

Empires of the Word

The second half covers the last half millennium, when European languages planted themselves all over the world, carried mainly by sea. Otherwise, the expansion of languages, notably the great Asian languages, has been organic rather than by force. Before that, the spread of languages was essentially by means of land routes, which meant that the growth of or language was relatively slow and usually organic. Lists with This Book.