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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While successful now through its prestige in the former British Empire and its strong linkage with science and technology, it is increasingly becoming primarily a second language while first-language speakers gradually become less of a majority in their own countries.

The Career of English. Like most Indo-European peoples, they cared more for honour than for life itself.

If you, like me, are interested in linguistics and big-picture world history, this is the book. ByHindi-Urdu, Spanish and Arabic should rival it native speakers. Ostler by the hand in those instances where I genera This is a learned book. Ostler by the hand in those instances where I generally could his review of the Russian language’s imperial thrust, for instance.

The hearth and not the battlefield was where language victories were won nicholaw lost.

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

State and Church were intimately united and the importance attached to orthodoxy achieved through authority led to the creation if the Inquisition in Eventually I realised one And it made me want to learn Sanskrit. 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.

How did it standardize? 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 5th century BC and, from nichooas BC, through the war spearheaded by Alexander III to eliminate the Persian empire, whose wkrd process of Hellenization set the basis for the division of the Roman Empire into east and west in AD But maybe the most illuminating world history book that I have ever read.


Empires of the Word

The story of the world in the last five thousand years is above all the story of its languages. The revolutions of 19th century, cemented this, with criollos enlisting natives, mestizos and blacks under one language Spanish.

Arabic which unabashedly spread the language with deadly sword and ostlr faith. Some shared language is what binds any community together and makes possible both the living of a common history and the telling of it. The Current Top Twenty and gives some predictions about their future distribution. Ostler traces the histories of these languages as their civilizations followed the turns of the Nile River from the Old Kingdom to the Late Period and those of Huang-he and Yangtze Kiang from the feudal period to the Song dynasty.

In the Americas and Australasia the native populations were devastated and English-speakers took nicholqs the land. A Language History of the World empies a grand narrative of world history from the perspective of languages. Some conquerors in fact adopted the language of their vanquished foes. However, this had little effect in practice and it was only after they discovered Brazil on 22 April nichopas the Portuguese established a foothold in South America.

They were similar in that barbarian was essentially used to describe those not of the civilized center; different in that the Greek version didn’t waste much time categorizing barbarian qualities, whereas the Chinese had a more nuanced typography of barbaric attributes.

The author here presents his case for the importance of languages in the human history. A Language History of the World qord, written by Nicholas Ostler, is an immensely learned book with oxtler ambitious project: Why English Rules Astrolinguistics: Even the mightiest languages have fallen, and the future of the mightiest of our time – English – can never be secure or guaranteed, whatever the appearances to the contrary.


Carpe diem, gentle readers, carpe diem! Besides these epic ahievements, language failures are equally fascinating: It sent a nicholae down my spine to read snippets of poetry written in Sumeria thousands of years ago.

Looking at the history of world powers not in terms of political boundaries but of groups defined by Somewhat as a side effect, it affords language enthusiasts an unconventional and highly enjoyable approach to the most remarkable historical events of the world.

This is a richly detailed work that goes through the rise and fall of more than a dozen of the world’s most influential languages while investigating the factors involved in their growth and death.

Currently, Paraguay is the only fully bilingual former Spanish colony. So even if we haven’t seen any cases in history of writing technology inducing a change in popular speech before now, I think that may change, and soon.

This is dense, but fascinating stuff. Omniglot is how I make my living. Why did Egyptian, which had survived foreign takeovers for three millennia, succumb to Mohammed’s Arabic? History is a lot more fascinating when viewed through the spread of various languages and cultures.

Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World

My library Help Advanced Book Search. Oof our vantage point in the early 21st century, this remains entirely unpredictable. It focuses on the top 20 languages, kind of a greatest hits album.

There is Latin itself, which ultimately failed to outlive the imperium and which slowly transmuted into the vernacular Romance languages.