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Globish: How the English Language Became the World's Language Hardcover – May 24, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Well, it wasn't a great book. It wasn't bad, but it had very little depth. A substantial portion of it was just a review of basic history, such as a description of Shakespeare's contributions or a restatement of one of Thomas Friedman's notions - and then with a tacked-on explanation of how it related to the development of Globish. The real mechanics of the process of English's evolution was seldom touched except in the most common way (i.e. a reminder that our most-used words all come from the Old). This was disappointing - I was hoping for something a little more scholarly and new. I was also disappointed in a similar way in the sections on the modern use of Globish - we are given only some light anecdotes reviewing the familiar trends of campus-educated Indians making the language their own and growing into a niche. It was about as innovative as last night's PB&J sandwich.
In short, this would probably be a great book for beginners and people unfamiliar with the things being discussed. If you weren't aware that Shakespeare coined a lot of words and that shucks we still use them today, then this is for you. But if you want something innovative and deeper, then save your money. Or I guess bring it to the beach.
McCrum's history of English is interesting. However, McCrum sometimes writes nonsense. For example, McCrum writes, "Language, it cannot be stressed too strongly, is intrinsically neutral, but it is no contradiction to claim that English - by virtue of its origins and history - is unique."
Change 'English' to 'French' or to 'Arabic' or to 'Cantonese'. Without knowledge of the criteria that are used to evaluate uniqueness, the languages are interchangeable. For example, "Language, it cannot be stressed too strongly, is intrinsically neutral, but it is no contradiction to claim that Arabic - by virtue of its origins and history - is unique."
McCrum does not explain what he means by the term 'neutral' in the context of language. Near the end of the book, McCrum apparently contradicts the statement that language is neutral. McCrum writes, "Those who want to characterize Globish as a kind of benign virus that has worked its way into every corner of daily life must also acknowledge its imperial and colonial past." If language is neutral, why must I "acknowledge its imperial and colonial past"?
Sometimes, I do not understand what McCrum wants to say. In the examples that follow, I understand each word, but I do not understand the sentences:
* "At the interface of technology and global capitalism, the world's English responds to specific, local imperatives, as Jean-Paul Nerrière understood when he coined 'Globish' in 1995.Read more ›
Reviewed by C J Singh
Historically, in 1600 A.D., at the time of the founding of the East India Company, in London, languages of the Indo-European family were already native to most of the lands extending from Ireland to the border of Burma six thousand miles east, and had been so for thousands of years. At present, the Indo-European language family has more than twice the number of native speakers (46 percent) than the next largest family, the Sino-Tibetan (21 percent), which has always been confined to East Asia. These numbers suggest that one of the Indo-European languages was likely to become the common language of the globe. English won. (Historical ifs: Spanish, if Philip's Armada had succeeded; French, if Napolean; German, if Hitler; Russian, if Stalin.)
So, what is this "Globish"? The term was initially coined by Madhukar Gogate, an Indian linguist, to describe an artificial dialect he created and presented to the Simplified Spelling Society of U.K. in 1998. (Example: "She is fine" in "Globish" becomes "She iz faain.") Like many earlier spelling-reform attempts, his " Globish" didn't take root. In 2004, Jean-Paul Nerriere, a retired French marketer, trademarked the term "Globish" and later published a book, provocatively titling it as "DON'T SPEAK ENGLISH!: PARLEZ GLOBISH." Nerriere's "Globish" is a subset of 1500 words and limited syntactical patterns derived from Standard English. "Globish" has precedents in "Basic English," a subset of 850 words proposed by linguist and philosopher Charles Ogden in his book, "Basic English: A General Introduction with Rules and Grammar" published in 1930.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love this book. Their is a lot of information that I enjoy reading about.Published 1 month ago by Jacob Laan
Everyone should read this - it's a new look at the modern world through the lens of languagePublished 6 months ago by Sheena Bruenen
A very well-researched history of the creation and spread of this, originally, north Germanic language. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Ava Collopy Books
This book is boring.
It is supposed to be a history of English from its days as a collection of tribal dialects on a small island to its modern form as a global super... Read more
Extremely informative as well as entertaining review not just of the language but of the cultural effects of the language throughout the world. Well worth the read ( or listen)Published 16 months ago by Gino
This is a light, fast and fairly entertaining read on a quite touchy subject, as the reviews should tell you. Read morePublished 16 months ago by lyndonbrecht
He has a great perspective on the English language and how it's emergence as a global language is in essence creating an English we well may not recognize in a generation or two.Published 23 months ago by SV