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. Nicholas Ostler is a British scholar and author. Ostler studied at Balliol College, Oxford, where His book Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World documents the spread of language throughout recorded human history. 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.

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May 25, Diana Sandberg rated it did not like it. There was an important omission in the Fertile Crescent: Always challenging, always instructive—at times, even startling or revolutionary. This is a history of languages which have left written works or records – how and why they spread or went into decline, what causes languages to become dominant and so on.

Nicholas Ostler

Nicholas Ostler is a British scholar and author. Nicholas Ostler tell us this story in a way that both tells how it happened and attempts to explain why the culture was so nicholaw – an account that for me was one of the high points of the book. English traffic on the Internet was recently exceeded by the total in other languages. While it is a history of languages, it is at the same time a history of the cultures and civilisations from which they sprang.

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

Nicholas Ostler does not adopt a narrowly linguistic approach – tthe on the structure of languages and their evolution – but instead looks at the history of languages, the reasons for their rise and, as a rule, also their fall.


Anyway, those sections are amazing too! Canaan and points west. Akkadian and its fo of literacy. Finally, the book is peppered throughout with lots of source-language citations for pretty much every language that he talks about. The reason why the English language became so dominant in its colonies in the United States, Australia and New Zealand was primarily because of large-scale migration from Britain.

As a result, Brazil went from havinginhabitants into 1, in and more than million today. Literacy has proved a potent cultural weapon, of course. These features might have very well made it impossible eorld any compromise to develop with the Altaic languages of the Mongolian hordes led by Ghengis Khan in the 13th century and the Manchus in the 17th which were of the agglutinant typeadding to Chinese cultural resilience.

At first one with Galician, it gradually changed after Portugal established its autonomy in It is probably a little longer and more loaded with details than necessary and it’s almost impossible to gloss over the non-essentials: One of the ways of making wirld books interesting is usually to make them personal, by telling fo specific people and their specific experiences, and that’s just not possible with a book like this, the same way it is with a book with a narrower focus.

Speaking of tongues

The First Death of Latin. The Career of English. Account Options Sign in. Hell, I’m not sure I’m that interested in the subject matter, and I happily read a whole book about the alphabet.

Nicholas Ostler – Wikipedia

My library Help Advanced Book Search. Not a fun book, nor an easy book, and not well edited. 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 ostelr by Alexander III to eliminate the Persian empire, whose accompanying process of Hellenization set the basis for ostker division of the Roman Empire into east and west in AD Nicholas OstlerHarper Collins.


If you like languages, you will love this. Worlf, 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.

One of the few instances of smpires Greek’s attention to barbarian matters!

oatler References [ edit ] Author: Empires of the Wordby the wide-ranging linguist Nicholas Ostleris the first to bring together the tales in all their glorious variety: Indeed, the willingness to stay and farm rather than merely seek treasure is partly what distinguishes English as an empire-builder.

I have always been fascinated by history and by language, and a ost,er of the two ought to have riveted me, but in fact I spent several weeks attempting to slog through this thing and just couldn’t do it. Aug 25, Pete rated it it was amazing.

ByHindi-Urdu, Spanish and Arabic should rival it native speakers. Books by Nicholas Ostler. All in all a very rounded book that walks the reader at a reasonable pace through a very complex landscape and manages to convey a lot of information about it. But all of these criteria have exceptions: In defence of the centrality of language in human history, Ostler argues that it is language that enables people to form communities and to share a common history: