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English as a Global Language Paperback – 28 Jul 2003

3.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (28 July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521530326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521530323
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 1.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 888,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

'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.' Sir John Hanson (Director-General of The British, 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, Times Educational Supplement

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

'Crystal provides us with an excellent account of the growth of English as the global language.' Good Book Guide

Book Description

This new edition of David Crystal's influential book contains extra sections on subjects including the future of English as a world language, English on the Internet, and the possibility of an English 'family' of languages; footnotes; new tables; and a full bibliography. There are updates throughout.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating review of how the English Language got to its present position of world dominance. David Crystal is not, contrary to Daniel's review, a linguistic imperialist. He lives in Wales, speaks Welsh, and champions minority languages. But he also understands that an interconnected world needs a global lingua franca, which will be a second language for the great majority.
From Daniel's review, you might get the impression that Crystal advocates fertilizer bags having instructions only in English. In fact, Crystal is quoting the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, who said that farmers in her country should learn English as a second language, since international companies were never going to print instructions on fertilizer bags in Sinhalese. She was simply being realistic.
Crystal recognises that the dominance of English today is the result of chance, the language repeatedly being in the right place at the right time. If English had not become the common second language, another language would have done so. Crystal gives us the reasons for English's rise, the history, the effects on other languages and some predictions of where its going. It's quite a short book, and I would have preferred more detailed discussion in places. But it's certainly worthwhile reading.
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Format: Paperback
This is an extremely interesting, accurate and comprehensive review of the status of English in the world. Being the second edition, all the data are revised and information is updated. David Crystal presents a neat review of English in all the spheres of life - cinema, broadcasting, politics and elsewhere, providing with dates of "first recorded usages" and later development of the language in a certain field. There is a section of New Englishes, where illustrative points from emerging varieties are presented in reference to vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and discourse. David Crystal also makes invaluable speculations about the emerging syllable-timed nature of New Englishes and presents the conflict over the officiality of English in the USA. There is an absolute balance of presentation of the positive and negative sides of English on the global scale, its side effects and benefits. Alongside his neutral, from-the-outside observations, Professor quotes other authors' opinions about the situation, both favourable and pejorative.
On the whole, the book is very comprehensive, detailed, learned and extremely interesting, claiming the expert hand that wrote it.
I advise everybody to read this must-run book, also to enjoy the sistering "Language Death", which I am going to do soon.
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Format: Paperback
Short and to the point, this provides an overveiw of how English came to be a global language, the different status it has worldwide and the issues it raises. It's a slim volume and it won't take long to read but it's an interesting subject and makes you realise how lucky you are if English is your first language. I read right after doing a Teaching English as a Forign Language course so it was an illuminating look at where in the world I could go.
However it sometimes lacks detail and leaves you wanting more, but don't let that put you off - it's an interesting introduction to a subject I intend to learn more about.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Arrived in good condition.
I originally picked it up for my Extended Project research, but it is interesting enough to read it anyway - even when I decided to drop the EPQ.
Crystal is practically worshiped by my college's English Language department, and I can certainly see why.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
David Crystal never dissapoints a linguist. Everything is explained so that everybody can access those materials but at the same time he is very meticulous and gives good points and explanations. I use it for university and it is great.
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By A Customer on 14 Nov. 2001
Format: Paperback
Crystal's book is the exact counterpart to Phillipson's "Linguistic Imperialism". While the former has been called an "alarmist" (because of his view that English has been used for imperialistic purposes) the latter apparently sees no problem what so ever (and has thus been called "triumphalist"). Crystal seems to suggest that all linguistic cross-cultural problems could be solved if everyone would learn English from an early age onwards. He apparently sees nothing wrong if Asian farmers cannot read the instructions on fertilizer bags because they are in English. Rather suspiciously, Crystal disregards Phillipson completely in this. While there are some good arguments against Phillipson, Crystal refuses to enter the debate. More generally, it seems to me that he refuses to deal with the more unpleasant facts of the global spread of English. Better to continue writing about the happy family of English speakers! The book is thus rather naive in its evaluation of the role, status and attitudes connected with the English language.For those who would like to read a really damning review I can recommend Phillipson's "Voice in Global English: unheard Chords in Crystal loud and clear." which appeared in Applied Linguistics 20/2:265-276.
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