An unusual and authoritative 'natural history of languages' that narrates the ways in which one language has superseded or outlasted another at different times in history. The story of the world in the last five thousand years is above all the story of its languages. Some shared language is what binds any community together, and makes possible ...
An unusual and authoritative 'natural history of languages' that narrates the ways in which one language has superseded or outlasted another at different times in history. The story of the world in the last five thousand years is above all the story of its languages. Some shared language is what binds any community together, and makes possible both the living of a common history and the telling of it. Yet the history of the world's great languages has rarely been examined. 'Empires of the Word' is the first to bring together the tales in all their glorious variety: the amazing innovations - in education, culture and diplomacy - devised by speakers in the Middle East; the uncanny resilience of Chinese throughout twenty centuries of invasions; the progress of Sanskrit from north India to Java and Japan; the struggle that gave birth to the languages of modern Europe; and the global spread of English. Besides these epic achievements, language failures are equally fascinating: why did Germany get left behind? Why did Egyptian, which had survived foreign takeovers for three millennia, succumb to Mohammed's Arabic? Why is Dutch unknown in modern Indonesia, given that the Netherlands had ruled the East Indies for as long as the British ruled India? As this book engagingly reveals, the language history of the world shows eloquently the real characters of peoples; it also shows that the language of the future will, like the languages of the past, be full of surprises.
Fair. Good copy for reading, may have heavy page wear with writing textual notes highlighting or be an heavily used ex library copy with library markings, stickers or stamps. Dust jacket or accessories may not be included.
Good. Pages are yellowed. Still nice, but it will have reading and shelf wear. Nothing bad, we promise! 99.9% Positive Feedback. SHIPS OUT WITHIN 1 BUSINESS DAY! CHARITY SALE! 100% of the proceeds benefit the literacy and educational efforts of Books for America.
Very Good. 0060935723 Very Good Condition-May show some limited signs of wear and may have a remainder mark. Pages and dust cover are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. Tracking is not available for orders shipped outside of the United States.
Acceptable. A book with obvious wear. May have some damage to the cover or binding but integrity is still intact. There might be writing in the margins, possibly underlining and highlighting of text, but no missing pages or anything that would compromise the legibility or understanding of the text.
Good. Connecting readers with great books since 1972. Used books may not include companion materials, some shelf wear, may contain highlighting/notes, may not include cdrom or access codes. Customer service is our top priority!
Good. Connecting readers with great books since 1972. Used books may not include companion materials, some shelf wear, may contain highlighting/notes, and may not include cd-rom or access codes. Customer service is our top priority!
Publishers Weekly, 2005-05-16 Ostler's ambitious and accessible book is not a technical linguistic study-i.e., it's not concerned with language structure-but about the "growth, development and collapse of language communities" and their cultures. Chairman of the Foundation of Endangered Languages, Ostler's as fascinated by extinction as he is by survival. He thus traces the fortunes of Sumerian, Akkadian and Aramaic in the flux of ancient Middle Eastern military empires. Ancient Egyptian's three millennia of stability compares with the longevity of similarly pictographic Chinese-and provides a cautionary example: even a populous, well-defined linguistic community can vanish. In all cases, Ostler stresses the role of culture, commerce and conquest in the rise and fall of languages, whether Spanish, Portuguese and French in the Americas or Dutch in Asia and Africa. The rise of English to global status, Ostler argues, owes much to the economic prestige of the Industrial Revolution, but its future as a lingua franca may falter on demographic trends, such as booming birth rates in China. This stimulating book is a history of the world as seen through the spread and demise of languages. Maps. Agent, Natasha Fairweather at A.P. Watt Ltd. (July 8) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Alibris, the Alibris logo, and Alibris.com are registered trademarks of Alibris, Inc.
Copyright in bibliographic data and cover images is held by Nielsen Book Services Limited, Baker & Taylor, Inc., or by their respective licensors, or by the publishers, or by their respective licensors. For personal use only. All rights reserved. All rights in images of books or other publications are reserved by the original copyright holders.