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Empires of the word: A Language History of the World

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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 been very little told. Empires of the Word, by the wide-ranging linguist Nicholas Ostler, is the first to bring together the tales in all their glorious variety: the amazing innovations in education, culture, and diplomacy devised by speakers of Sumerian and its successors in the Middle East, right up to the Arabic of the present day; the uncanny resilience of Chinese through twenty centuries of invasions; the charmed progress of Sanskrit from north India to Java and Japan; the engaging self-regard of Greek; the struggles that gave birth to the languages of modern Europe; and the global spread of English.

Besides these epic ahievements, language failures are equally fascinating: Why did German 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, though the Netherlands had ruled the East Indies for as long as the British ruled India?

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. The language future, like the language past, will be full of surprises.

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ISBN:
9780066210865
9780007364893
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 625e7ee5-be1a-4ea4-b0a0-081f3d50ef48
Full title empires of the word a language history of the world
Author ostler nicholas
Grouping Category book
Last Update 2018-05-23 03:20:09AM
Last Indexed 2018-05-23 03:23:47AM

Solr Details

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author Ostler, Nicholas.
author_display Nicholas Ostler
available_at_catalog Green Hills, Green Hills Kids, Main Kids, Main Library
collection_catalog Non-Fiction
detailed_location_catalog Green Hills - Adult Non-Fiction, Main Library - Adult Non-Fiction
display_description

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.

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literary_form_full Non Fiction
local_callnumber_catalog 409 O855e
owning_library_catalog Nashville Public Library
owning_location_catalog Green Hills, Green Hills Kids, Main Kids, Main Library
primary_isbn 9780066210865
publishDate 2005, 2010
record_details ils:CARL0000250564|Book|Books|1st American ed.|English|HarperCollins Publishers,|c2005.|xxi, 615 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm., overdrive:56d96ee5-7323-43c6-863f-26cd87aa0969|eBook|eBook||English|HarperCollins Publishers|2010|
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subject_facet Language and languages -- History
title_display Empires of the word : a language history of the world
title_full Empires of the Word A Language History of the World, Empires of the word : a language history of the world / Nicholas Ostler
title_short Empires of the word :
title_sub A Language History of the World
topic_facet History, Language Arts, Language and languages, Nonfiction