David Crystal, world authority on the English language, has written a timely and informative account of the phenomenon of English as a global language. It includes a historical summary of the global development of English; an analysis, well supported by facts and figures, of the current spread and status of English as a first and second language internationally; and an informed assessment - by one of the leading scholars of and general writers about language matters - of the future of English. The book asks three basic questions: what makes a world language? why is English the leading candidate? and will it continue to hold that position? It steers even-handedly through the minefield of political debate about the cultural hegemony of English, and will appeal to anyone with an interest in language issues, whatever their political views on the subject.
• Timely book on hotly debated subject • Factual and informative account by one of the world's leading authorities • Already the subject of articles in The Economist, The Independent on Sunday, The Guardian and Time Magazine
Preface; 1. Why a global language? 2. Why English? The historical context; 3. Why English? The cultural foundation; 4. Why English? The cultural legacy; 5. The future of global English; Further reading; Index.
'The perfect introduction by an acknowledged linguistic expert.' Robert McCrum, The Observer
'Immensely authoritative . . . sets a new standard in the popularisation of linguistics.' Sir John Hanson, The Times Higher Education Supplement
'Crystal is a master of academic documentary … He presents enough facts and figures to make readers feel that they are getting good value for money. This book is a good mix of outline facts and good sense about language.' Times Educational Supplement