Empires of the Word

A Language History of the World

Recommended by Henry Hitchings, and 1 others. See all reviews

Ranked #9 in Linguistics, Ranked #11 in Languagesee more rankings.

An unusual and authoritative 'natural history of languages' that narrates the ways in which one language has superseded or outlasted another at different times in history. The story of the world in the last five thousand years is above all the story of its languages. Some shared language is what binds any community together, and makes possible both the living of a common history and the telling of it. Yet, the history of the world's great languages has rarely been examined. Empires of the Word is the first to bring together the tales in all their glorious variety: the amazing innovations - in... more

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We've comprehensively compiled reviews of Empires of the Word from the world's leading experts.

Henry Hitchings It’s a history of all languages – some have called it a macro-history. The ambition of this book is really extraordinary. There have been lots of histories of English, and there are lots of histories of other languages in those languages, but actually to try and write a history of the whole of language is an incredibly audacious thing, and Ostler pulls it off. (Source)

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