Empires of the Word

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9780007118717: Empires of the Word

An unusual and authoritative 'natural history of languages' that narrates the ways in which one language has superseded or outlasted another at different times in history.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.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Nicholas Ostler is a scholar and scientist of languages, who has a working knowledge of 26 languages and who, five years ago, set up the Foundation for Endangered Languages, an international organisation, to provide funding and support to document and revitilise languages in peril. With his own company Linguacubun Ltd., he regularly advises governments and corporations on policy in the field of computers and natural language processing.

Review:

"A work of immense erudition." -- Christian Science Monitor

Delicious! Ostler s book shows how certain lucky languages joined humankind in its spread across the world. --John McWhorter

What an extraordinary odyssey the author of this superb work embarked upon. --Literary Review

Revolutionary... Executed with a giddying depth of scholarship, yet the detail is never too thick to swamp the general reader. --Boston magazine

A story of dramatic reversals and puzzling paradoxes. A rich... text with many piercing observations and startling comparisons. --Los Angeles Times Book Review

[A] wide-ranging history of the world s languages... [Ostler] brilliantly raises questions and supplies answers or theories. --Washington Post

Covers more rambunctious territory than any other single volume I m aware of...A wonderful ear for the project s poetry. --John Leonard, Harper's Magazine

Enlightening . . . Always challenging, always instructive--at times, even startling or revolutionary. --Kirkus Reviews

[A] monumental new book... Ostler furnishes many fresh insights, useful historical anecdotes and charming linguistic oddities. --Chicago Tribune

True scholarship. A marvelous book, learned and instructive. --National Review

A work of immense erudition. --Christian Science Monitor

"What an extraordinary odyssey the author of this superb work embarked upon."--Literary Review

"A work of immense erudition."--Christian Science Monitor

"Delicious! Ostler's book shows how certain lucky languages joined humankind in its spread across the world."--John McWhorter

"Enlightening . . . Always challenging, always instructive--at times, even startling or revolutionary."--Kirkus Reviews

"Covers more rambunctious territory than any other single volume I'm aware of...A wonderful ear for the project's poetry."--John Leonard, Harper's Magazine

"A story of dramatic reversals and puzzling paradoxes. A rich... text with many piercing observations and startling comparisons."--Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Revolutionary... Executed with a giddying depth of scholarship, yet the detail is never too thick to swamp the general reader."--Boston magazine

"[A] wide-ranging history of the world's languages... [Ostler] brilliantly raises questions and supplies answers or theories."--Washington Post

"True scholarship. A marvelous book, learned and instructive."--National Review

"[A] monumental new book... Ostler furnishes many fresh insights, useful historical anecdotes and charming linguistic oddities."--Chicago Tribune

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. UK ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007118717

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. UK ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007118717

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, 2006. Book Condition: New. 2006. Paperback. 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. Num Pages: 688 pages, (65 maps). BIC Classification: CFF. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 234 x 155 x 46. Weight in Grams: 866. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780007118717

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Book Description Harper Perennial 2006-09-18, 2006. Book Condition: New. Brand new book, sourced directly from publisher. Dispatch time is 24-48 hours from our warehouse. Book will be sent in robust, secure packaging to ensure it reaches you securely. Bookseller Inventory # NU-HCL-00014076

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers. Book Condition: New. 2006. Paperback. 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. Num Pages: 688 pages, (65 maps). BIC Classification: CFF. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 234 x 155 x 46. Weight in Grams: 866. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780007118717

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