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Empires Of The Word: A Language History Of The World
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Bibliographic Detail
Publisher Harpercollins
Publication date July 1, 2005
Pages 615
Binding Hardcover
Book category Adult Non-Fiction
ISBN-13 9780066210865
ISBN-10 0066210860
Dimensions 1.25 by 6.50 by 9.50 in.
Weight 2.15 lbs.
Availability§ Publisher Out of Stock
Original list price $29.95
§As reported by publisher
Summaries and Reviews
Summary
An offbeat natural history of language takes readers from the educational and cultural innovators of Sumeria, to the resilience of Chinese, to the global spread of English, in a volume that offers linguistic perspectives on numerous past and present civilizations. 20,000 first printing.
Amazon.com description: Product Description:

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.



Editions
Hardcover
Book cover for 9780007118700 Book cover for 9780066210865
 
The price comparison is for this edition
from Harpercollins (July 1, 2005)
9780066210865 | details & prices | 615 pages | 6.50 × 9.50 × 1.25 in. | 2.15 lbs | List price $29.95
About: An offbeat natural history of language takes readers from the educational and cultural innovators of Sumeria, to the resilience of Chinese, to the global spread of English, in a volume that offers linguistic perspectives on numerous past and present civilizations.
from Harpercollins Pub Ltd (February 21, 2005)
9780007118700 | details & prices | 624 pages | 6.25 × 9.00 × 1.50 in. | 1.85 lbs | List price $64.25
About: An unusual and authoritative 'natural history of languages' that narrates the ways in which one language has superseded or outlasted another in the past, and what it is about -- say -- Greek, Sanskrit, Mandarin Chinese and English that has led to their supremacy at different times.
Paperback
Book cover for 9780060935726
 
Reprint edition from Perennial (July 1, 2006)
9780060935726 | details & prices | 615 pages | 5.25 × 8.00 × 1.00 in. | 1.10 lbs | List price $17.99
About: An offbeat natural history of language takes readers from the educational and cultural innovators of Sumeria, to the resilience of Chinese, to the global spread of English, in a volume that offers linguistic perspectives on numerous past and present civilizations.
Miscellaneous
from Harpercollins (September 28, 2010)
9780062047359 | details & prices | 800 pages | List price $16.99

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