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Books  >>  History

Nicholas Ostler

Empires of the Word

Nicholas Ostler Empires Of The Word A Language History Of The World
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Main description:

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 and makes possible both the living of a common history and the telling of it. From the uncanny resilience of Chinese through twenty centuries of invasions to the engaging self-regard of Greek and to the struggles that gave birth to the languages of modern Europe, these epic achievements and more are brilliantly explored, as are the fascinating failures of once "universal" languages. A splendid, authoritative, and remarkable work, it demonstrates how the language history of the world eloquently reveals the real character of our planet's diverse peoples and prepares us for a linguistic future full of surprises.

Review quote:

“[A] monumental new book... Ostler furnishes many fresh insights, useful historical anecdotes and charming linguistic oddities.”

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“[A] wide-ranging history of the world’s languages... [Ostler] brilliantly raises questions and supplies answers or theories.”

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“A story of dramatic reversals and puzzling paradoxes. A rich... text with many piercing observations and startling comparisons.”

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“A work of immense erudition.”

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“Covers more rambunctious territory than any other single volume I’m aware of...A wonderful ear for the project’s poetry.”

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“Delicious! Ostler’s book shows how certain lucky languages joined humankind in its spread across the world.”

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“Enlightening . . . Always challenging, always instructive--at times, even startling or revolutionary.”

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“Revolutionary... Executed with a giddying depth of scholarship, yet the detail is never too thick to swamp the general reader.”

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“True scholarship. A marvelous book, learned and instructive.”

Review quote:

“What an extraordinary odyssey the author of this superb work embarked upon.”


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