Empires of the Word

Empires of the Word : A Language History of the World

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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.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 615 pages
  • 134.62 x 203.2 x 30.48mm | 498.95g
  • HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0060935723
  • 9780060935726
  • 60,086

Review quote

A story of dramatic reversals and puzzling paradoxes. A rich... text with many piercing observations and startling comparisons. --Los Angeles Times Book Review"show more

Review Text

"[A] wide-ranging history of the world's languages... [Ostler] brilliantly raises questions and supplies answers or theories." Washington Postshow more