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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Why do people learn some languages more easily than others?

ByHindi-Urdu, Spanish and Arabic should rival it native speakers. Ultimately, the book was fascinating, massive in scope, highly informative and well-researched, and a hell of a slog. This book delivers what was promised, despite the broad range nciholas the topic “Language history of the world”. English Until the Return of Babeland yet another short review essay in the future.

As the technological and cultural dominance of America has consolidated the territorial achievements of the British Empire, the English language aided by the predominantly Anglophone Internet has apparently never had it so good. Canaan and points west. If you’re at all interested in how dominant languages have spread and evolved, and how they impacted the linguistic development of all other languages in their regions, then stay away.

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So English is more of a lingua franca than anything else. The Middle East was then shaken by a new superstar: Like most Indo-European peoples, they cared more for honour than for life itself. Lists with This Book. The Career of English. The Germanic languages don’t have a good success rate. Ostler by the hand in those instances where I genera This is a learned book. Starting with the mesopotamian languages of History is a lot more fascinating when viewed through the spread of various languages and cultures.

If you, like me, are interested in linguistics and big-picture world history, this is the book.

Apart from the loss of potentially valuable diversity and the lessons about the human mind that will be lost with these languages and their associated conceptual frameworks, this highlights that a handful of languages have expanded or persisted across continents and millennia.


A scholar with a working knowledge of twenty-six languages, Nicholas Ostler has degrees from Oxford University in Greek, Latin, philosophy, and economics, and a Ph. From the uncanny resilience of Chinese through twenty centuries of invasions to the engaging self-regard of Greek and to the struggle Nicholas Ostler’s Empires of the Word is the worf 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.

How did it standardize?

Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World

The fascinating story of the world’s languages and their imperial history is somewhat submerged under all the details, but the author certainly avoids the Euro-centrism typical of this kind of discussion. 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.

The answers seem to have wlrd to do with the unique qualities of the language than you might think, and less to do with military or commercial dominance.

These languages have built empires. As far as I know thi This is a history of languages which have left written works or records – how and why they spread or went into decline, what causes languages to become dominant and so on.

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

There is Sanskrit, which spread from northern India across the sub-continent, largely on the back of Hinduism, and then – though no one quite knows how – to southeast Asia. But maybe English is here to stay?

I found it approachable and exhilarating and not in the least bit dry or politicised. In pages, Ostler condenses the history of human civilization, based on a study of languages. This book tells the story through the rise and decline of languages.

Language is the dmpires that binds us and forms our minds and societies, and by viewing the ebb and flow of its empires we glimpse the flow not merely of nicgolas and levers of power but of th Ostler has created a history of all of humanity, in so much as such a thing can be achieved in a single volume, on a basis unlike any other I have encountered.


EMPIRES OF THE WORD by Nicholas Ostler | Kirkus Reviews

In Ostler’s terms, Singapore has retained English for reasons of unity and globality. If you like languages, you will love this. This is a wonderful book. Looking at the history of world powers not in empirss of political boundaries but of groups defined by This book also tells about the first cracks in the language barrier: Dictionaries, Issue 26 Snippet view – Which makes me pretty sure he’s got the rest right, too.

Carpe diem, gentle readers, carpe diem! Ostler explains how Greek propagated through settlement from the southern Balkan peninsula and Aegean islands to the Mediterranean and Black Sea coasts from the 8th to the nivholas century BC and, from to BC, through the war spearheaded by Alexander III to eliminate the Persian empire, whose accompanying process of Hellenization set kstler basis for the division of the Roman Empire into east and west in AD Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.

In Spain, Castilian, Galician and Catalan shared the language scene and Castilian came wod dominate after the alliance between Castile and Aragon. The status of second language is precarious.


Before that, the spread of languages was essentially by means of land routes, which meant that the growth of a language was relatively slow and usually organic.

This is a book Nichola will come back to again and again. At the outset, Ostler says that he is practicing history sensu strictissimo: He’s usually clear that he’s doing this; he says, “We don’t This is an absolutely fascinating, dreadfully boring book. Ostler divides language spread into two periods, before and after