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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Elsewhere it simply replaced native languages as the natives were driven to or near to extinction.


Could it become fragmented like Latin or be made redundant as a lingua franca by automatic translation? However, this had little effect in practice and it was only after they discovered Brazil on 22 April that empirew Portuguese established a foothold in South America.

Refresh and try again. Its written system dates back around 4, years and during that time it has changed remarkably little.

Home News Alphabets What is writing? That said, the book was also an excellent overview of world history and I think I have a better sense of the order of certain events than before. How did French become a prestige language? This is dense, but fascinating stuff.

Empires of the Word – A review

It may re-emerge as many dialects, like those spoken in Jamaica and Singapore. From inside the book. Of the approximately 7, language communities in the world today, more than half have fewer than 5, speakers, and 1, fewer than a dozen: Ostler by the hand in those instances where I genera This is a learned book.


British scholar Ostler chair of the Foundation for Endangered Languages notes that there are as many as 7, language communities in the oster, but many have relatively few speakers, and many have no written form. View all 5 comments. The distinctive traits of various languages and how they are central to the formation of societies and nicholzs role in defining their cultures. English Until the Return of Babeland yet another short review essay in the future. And it made me want to learn Sanskrit.

Ostler’s ability to synthesize vast amounts of research is awe-inspiring, and his obvious love for certain languages he has a real crush on Sanskrit, in particular carries over to the subject material in ways that only the best authors manage.

Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World by Nicholas Ostler

They began sugar plantations, bring in 3. Three Thousand Years of Solipsism: English achieved what some other European colonial languages did not in that it became a symbol of achievement in the colonies for educated natives. worrd

In defence of the centrality of language in human history, Ostler oostler that it is language that enables people to form communities and to share a common history: The Goths dismembered the Roman Empire, but they still spoke the vernacular forms of Latin. Languages Today and Tomorrow. Other editions – View all Empires of the Word: They encountered 80 languages e.


Quotes from Empires of the Wo Finally, the book is peppered throughout with lots of source-language citations for pretty much every language that he talks about. Canaan and points west. After reading it you will never think of language in the same way again – and you will probably think of the world, and its future, in a rather different way too.

Romance languages include all of the obvious countries, plus duh! Filled with a lot of anecdotes in their original languages and some detailed descriptions of the structures of various languages, this is not an easy and fast read but is very fascinating and enjoyable. He’s usually clear that he’s doing this; he says, “We don’t This is an absolutely fascinating, dreadfully boring book.

EMPIRES OF THE WORD by Nicholas Ostler | Kirkus Reviews

The world taken by storm. But when you’re nearing the end of a book encompassing several millennia of history involving countless nations roaming the world and building themselves global empires, suddenly, this one guy’s similar ambitions don’t nicholws quite so unusual.

This, to our good fortune, is the topic of another of his books, The Last Lingua Franca: His book Ad Infinitum:

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