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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Ostler’s ability to synthesize vast amounts of research is awe-inspiring, and his obvious love for certain languages he has a real crush on Sanskrit, in particular carries over to the subject material in ways that only the best authors manage.

I was looking forward to this book — but it is much too pedantic. One day he’ll stop, but I may have to clout him over the head with something fierce to help him see reason.

Language is the tie that binds us and forms our minds enpires societies, and by viewing the ebb and flow of its empires we glimpse the flow not merely of peoples and levers of power but of the very bedrock of our powers of worlx. What are the most dominant languages today?

A Language History of the World. A scholar with a working knowledge of twenty-six languages, Nicholas Ostler has degrees from Oxford University in Greek, Latin, philosophy, and economics, and a Ph.

Nicholas Ostler – Wikipedia

It is probably a little longer and more loaded with details than necessary and it’s almost impossible to gloss over the non-essentials: I found it approachable and exhilarating and not in the least bit dry or politicised.

Not a fun book, nor an eempires book, and not well edited. These tablets were sometimes fired, but for economic reasons large volumes of text, such as records of state, were simply dried and stacked in libraries. Celt, Roman, German and Slav.


Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World

Languages Today and Tomorrow. In books of such scope, one is always wary that the author cheats a little here, a little there, making small mistakes where his competence might fail and in a work covering the complete history of language spread of the whole human race, such instances are inevitable, even if the author possesses a working knowledge of 26 languages, as the back cover rather preposterously claims.

View all 6 comments. Argi jos plitimo niekas nesustabdys? Ostler points out that in this period a major language shift from Celtic to Latin occurred in western Europe due to military conquest and that this is at the root of the misleading conception that what changes languages is only control backed by military and economic strength. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Empires of the Word: By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

There are obviously many fascinating languages that don’t appear or get short shrift.

This page was last edited on 10 Octoberat epmires Nicholas Ostler tell us this story in a way that both tells how it happened and attempts to explain why dorld culture was so attractive – an account that for me was one of the high points of the book. As in business, it is evident that merger and acquisition can outpace organic growth. British scholar Ostler chair of the Foundation for Endangered Languages notes that there are as many as 7, language communities in the world, but many have relatively few speakers, and many have no written form.

Tends toward the academic.

Aug 25, Pete rated it it was amazing. He has some really interesting insights on all sorts of things, like why Germanic tribes managed to conquer half the Roman Empire but didn’t impose their languages anywhere lf the Arab conquests only a few hundred years later led to permanent linguistic change across almost all of their empirs, and his ending discussion of the evolution and future of English is probably worth the price of the book right there.


Hell, I’m not sure I’m that interested in the subject matter, and I happily read a whole book about the alphabet.

Here’s an outline of the book’s structure. Jan 25, Michael Cayley rated it it was amazing Shelves: But when you’re nearing the end of a book encompassing several millennia of history involving countless nations roaming the world and building themselves global empires, suddenly, this one guy’s similar ambitions don’t seem quite so unusual.

I wonder, if we look at popular speech in a few years, or possibly even now, will we not see certain changes that are ostlrr direct result of email, instant messaging, and especially text messaging?

I thought this was awesome; although I wasn’t entirely convinced that his or his advisors had written everything precisely right, and trying to get one’s head around the numerous different romanization systems to get a sense of what the languages actually sounded like and how they worked, his stated point in including these quotes got really difficult. Ostler studied at Balliol College, Oxford, where he received degrees in Greek, Latin, philosophy, and economics. One of the ways of making history books interesting is usually to make them personal, by telling of 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.

His book Empires of the Thr