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David Crystal, world authority on the English language, presents a lively and factual account of the rise of English as a global language and explores the whys and wherefores of the history, current status and future potential of English as the international language of communication. English has been lauded as the most 'successful' language ever, with 1,500 million speakers worldwide; but Crystal avoids taking sides and tells the story in a measured but engaging way, backed by facts and figures. This new edition of his classic book includes new material (on the vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation of New Englishes), footnotes, new tables, and a full bibliography. There are updates throughout. This is a book for anyone of any nationality concerned with English: teachers, students, language professionals, politicians, general readers and anyone with a love of the language.


‘A masterly synopsis of the spread of English across the world … English as a Global Language arrives as an elegant successor to Robert McCrum’s The Story of English, published in 1986. It is at the same time cool and immensely authoritative. Less than half the size, but with scarcely less text than its richly illustrated Rolls-Royce predecessor, it sets a new standard in the popularisation of linguistics.’

Source: The Times Higher Education Supplement

‘This little book is a cross between a tourist guide and a no-nonsense school textbook ... Crystal is skilled at assembling scattered yet useful data in a form that seems safe and reliable. He presents enough facts and figures to make readers feel that they are getting good value for their time and money … The book’s value is clear. It is a judicious mix of outline facts and good sense about language ... Overall, this commonsensical little book will be a useful tool for spreading the important message that English is not supreme because it is superior … , that English is not declining, and that it would be a tragedy if English alone remained among languages.’

Jean Aitchison Source: Times Educational Supplement

‘This is a fascinating and useful book... a fine introduction for a wide variety of potential users.’

Source: Choice

‘Crystal provides us with an excellent account of the growth of English as the global language.’

Source: Good Book Guide

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