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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Empires of the Word
Jun 04, kingshearte rated it liked it Shelves: Ostler’s explanation for its longevity is interesting: He lives in Bath, England. Most interestingly, economic dominance and military forces are merely relevant and not determinative factors. History is a lot more fascinating when viewed through the spread of various languages and cultures. His book rests on a foundation of scholarship and erudition so broad and deep that it elicits gasps of admiration.
The Career of English. Jan 25, Michael Cayley rated it it was amazing Shelves: Celt, Roman, German and Slav.
Likewise the languages whose histories this book has reviewed have been spreading in increasing circles for twice that period of time. 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 to BC, through the war spearheaded by Alexander III to eliminate the Persian empire, whose accompanying process of Hellenization set the basis for the division of the Roman Empire into east and west in AD A Language History of the World.
And it made me want to learn Sanskrit. But with the present rise of China – and indeed India – it would not be difficult to imagine Mandarin and Hindi becoming far more widely spoken by A long and a bit over-laborious comparison between the ‘careers’ of Egyptian and Chinese: Hindi when it is written in Devanagari and borrows words from Sanskrit and Urdu when it is written in Persian script and draws on Persian and Arabic.
It may not always remain so.
HarperCollins nicholae, – Historical linguistics – pages. Nevertheless these criticisms should not tarnish Empires of the Word: What are the forces that might weaken the current hegemony of English around the world?
Speaking of tongues
Spanish in the New World. The advance of the Arabic language was not really ‘lightning fast’ to the West – Ostler says that Coptic was the main language in Upper Egypt as late as the 14th century, and Berber was the main mother tongue in the Maghrib even longer – and the urban centres that were Arabised first were the places where non-Afro-Asiatic languages would have been strongest. Its written system dates back around 4, years and during that time it has changed remarkably little.
Here, it was a surprise for me to read to what extent the indigenous languages of especially South America were used, even by the Spanish, as linguas francas of the New World; the complete reliance on Spanish came only relatively late; Ostler traces the spread of Nahuatl, Quechua, Chibcha, Guarani, Mapudungun lenguas generales.
The narrative follows roughly the ch Empires of the Word: Interestingly, Ostler compared the Ancient Egyptian with Chinese.
Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World
The Middle East was then shaken by a new superstar: Ostler, therefore, recounted the avoidable dominance of Spanish in South America, the failures of the strongly pragmatic Portuguese and Dutch in spreading their languages, the sporadic successes of French and the ineffective and brutal strategy of Russian.
The curious tenacity of Latin in the West and its relative failure in the East. After a brief introduction, Ostler uses the first half of the book to describe the spread of languages, mainly by land, from the remotest past up to the Middle Ages.
A Language History of the World documents the spread of language throughout nicohlas human history. May 25, Diana Sandberg rated it did not like it.
Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World – Nicholas Ostler – Google Books
A splendid, authoritative, and ths work, it demonstrates how the language history of the world eloquently reveals the real character of our planet’s diverse peoples and prepares us for a linguistic future full of surprises. From the ostlsr resilience of Chinese through twenty centuries of invasions to the engaging self-regard of Greek and to the struggles that gave birth to the languages of modern Europe, these epic achievements and more are brilliantly explored, as are the fascinating failures of once “universal” languages.
Celt Roman German and Slav.
The Muslim invasions of the Indian subcontinent starting in Gazhni, Afghanistan in the 10th century and culminating in the Mughal empire after are also surveyed. Language and word books, by nature, I think, are difficult to write in a really engaging manner, particularly ones with a scope as vast as this one.
I personally find language history and usage fascinating nerd alertso maybe not everyone will find this book as cool as I did, but this was one of those books where I learned something new on basically every page and enjoyed doing it. Looking at the history of world powers not in terms of political boundaries but of groups defined by Books by Nicholas Ostler.
Paperbackpages. So even if we haven’t seen any cases in history of writing hicholas inducing a change in popular speech before now, I think that may change, and soon. Be the first to discover new talent! Emlires the epigraphs—and there are myriads—are demanding, even daunting. Microcosm or Distorting Mirror?
We first saw the appearance of the earliest written records in Ur, and then how Akkadian, a very ancient Semitic language, rose as the first lingua franca of the ancient world. Account Options Sign in. A splendid, authoritative, and remarkable work, it demonstrates how the language history of the world eloquently reveals the real character of our planet’s diverse peoples and prepares us for a linguistic future full of surprises.