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. Nicholas Ostler is a British scholar and author. Ostler studied at Balliol College, Oxford, where His book Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World documents the spread of language throughout recorded human history. 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.

Author: Yozshular Malazuru
Country: Turks & Caicos Islands
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Finance
Published (Last): 11 September 2009
Pages: 393
PDF File Size: 9.93 Mb
ePub File Size: 20.10 Mb
ISBN: 639-5-51629-906-9
Downloads: 54007
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Fenrijar

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

But no law and no decree anywhere has ever yet stemmed the ebbing of a language tide. British scholar Ostler chair of the Foundation for Endangered Languages notes that there are as many as 7, language communities in the world, but many have relatively few speakers, and many have no written form.

And then there is Chinese. Nick Ostler has this tendency, also, to latch on to small bits of evidence and make much of it. While setting up shop in Carthage and trading around the Meditarrenean, Phoenicians spread an alphabet based off of Egyptian hieroglyphs from which the Greek and Latin wmpires would derive. Somewhat as a side effect, it affords language enthusiasts an unconventional and highly enjoyable approach to the most rem [Except for the first and last paragraphs, this is more of a summary than a review: Nichlas English and other European languages are no longer viewed as symbols of colonial domination, and instead are seen as crucial for success in business –which could boost longevity.

How did English, with its multiple parents, spread so rapidly and pervasively?

wmpires Ostler points out that in this period a major language shift from Celtic to Latin occurred in western Europe due to military conquest and that this is at the root of the misleading conception that what changes languages is only control backed by military and economic strength.

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.


Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World

However, the title, ‘Ad Infinitum,’ refers not to this, but to his thesis that the Latin-speaking world was unconscious of its own limits, worldd always back to its centre, rather than outwards. But maybe English is here to stay? The arrival of the Spanish on the new continent represented a confrontation of peoples separated by tens of thousands of years of independent development and resulted in truly massive loss of native population probably in the million range at its height due to smallpox, typhus, influenza, diphtheria and measles.

Microcosm or Distorting Mirror? Unlike Phoenicians and Greeks, they were also interested in religious conversion and the language went beyond a mere lingua empirws, giving rise to a number of creoles in the region. I’m a fan of languages and I loved this book.

This book hte questions such as how languages establish themselves in a region and why they die out. The Last Lingua Franca: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This just wasn’t compelling, despite in the abstract sounding like a slam dunk for me. Besides the obvious improvements in shipbuilding and nautical knowledge and equipment, the period of Languages by Sea starts with the consolidation of new elites whose languages English, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, German, French and to a lesser extent Dutch have some of the highest numbers of speakers in the world today.

A long and a bit over-laborious comparison between the ‘careers’ of Egyptian and Chinese: We see the flow of conceptual frameworks and the means of expressing and constraining them. History is a lot more fascinating when viewed through the spread of various languages and cultures.

State and Church were intimately united and the importance attached to orthodoxy achieved through authority led to the creation if the Inquisition in emoires Return to Book Page. From the uncanny resilience of Chinese through twenty centuries While many Latin American countries to this day speak Spanish, in another former colony, the Philippines, the linguistic legacy remains marginal. Akkadian and its model of literacy.

Ostler discusses how Latin died as a language capable of being used to think and communicate new ideas and how it was preserved by classicism as an archeological relic. Microcosm or Distorting Mirror?

Review: Empires of the Word by Nicholas Ostler | Books | The Guardian

The distinctive traits of various languages and how they are central to the formation of societies and their role in defining their cultures. This is an absolutely fascinating, dreadfully boring book.

  EAW JF 560 PDF

Each week, our editors select the one author and one book they believe to be most worthy of your attention and highlight them in our Pro Connect email alert. Third is Hindi nicholss million and fourth Spanish, with million.

Languages Today and Tomorrow. English until the Return to Babel. From our modern perspective, Hitler’s attempt to build himself an empire is horrible, incredibly egotistical, and entirely unacceptable. Anyway, those epmires are amazing too!

No trivia or quizzes yet. The Turkic language group is spoken by a group that extends today in broad, straight path from Turkey to the border or Mongolia. These tablets were sometimes fired, but for economic reasons large volumes of text, such as records of state, were simply dried and stacked in libraries. Like most Indo-European peoples, they cared more for honour than for life itself.

A final section looks at factors which may affect the relative importance of different languages in coming decades. English seems strong today, but in historic terms, it probably won’t last too long on top. A culture that can write becomes both more unified and potentially more organised in many ways. Harper CollinsJun 28, – History – pages. Sevond half of the book deals with the spread of the European languages by thhe sea, starting with Portuguese, spanish, dutch,French and then English.

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. 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 wrold but is very fascinating and enjoyable. Aug 25, Pete rated it it was amazing.

iPhone X