- Paperback: 228 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (July 28, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521530326
- ISBN-13: 978-0521530323
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #307,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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English as a Global Language 2nd Edition
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"This is a fascinating and useful book....a fine introduction for a wide variety of potential users." Choice
David Crystal, world authority on the English language, presents a lively and factual account of the rise of English as a global language and explores the whys and wherefores of the history, current status and future potential of English as the international language of communication. This new edition of his classic book contains extra sections (on subjects including the future of English as a world language, English on the Internet, and the possibility of an English 'family' of languages), footnotes, new tables, and a full bibliography. There are updates throughout.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a very interesting book on the spread of world English. I really recommend it.
The problem is that this book did not tell us a lot of what we didn't know already.
1. English started out in England and was the language of the Industrial Revolution;
2. English was also useful in the colonized countries as a common language for these many people who had not spoken the same language in (what became) national borders for thousands of years.
3. It was continued by the United States because it has been the leading economic power for many decades.
4. It stays in use because it is useful for technological purposes and for every day purposes for people who don't understand each other. (Cebuano and Tagalog speakers in the Philippines, for example.)
The book is a very large jumble of facts that I would not have otherwise found in one place, some factoids and some historical.
1. We got to know the origin of that seldom heard language, Scots (not Scottish English);
2. We got to learn about the backward Kenyans, Tanzanians, and Sri Lankans. They took a different direction and made the official language one that no one understood (The Kenyans and Tanzanians) or one that caused a 26 year civil war (Sri Lanka). For the record, the respective GDPs per capita are: $1800, $1700, and $6500.
There are a few very small things with which I take issue in the book:
1. The author said that the ease of use of a language is not a factor in whether it is used outside its place of origin. That is not quite correct. Korea and Vietnam used Chinese characters for a long time, but those were thrown away for local alphabets because an alphabetic writing system (or an abjad) with 20 or so odd letters is easier to handle than 2,000 (or so) iconographs-- even though Chinese would be a logical choice because there are the most native speakers.
2. (p. 9). This is a piddly mistake, but one that should not have been made by a linguist. There is ONE "lingua franca" and there are TWO OR MORE "linguas franca."
3. (p. 32) I don't know to whom (if anyone) this author has been speaking, but: i. American people will not identify a Canadian accent as British; ii. Most American people will not be able to identify a Canadian accent as distinguishable from an American in most cases (excepting those where they add those annoying exaggerated Canadianisms).
4. We learned the origin of the roughly 3 varieties of American English.
Verdict: Recommended at the price of $1. It's not a bad use of 2-3 hours.