English as a Global Language

English as a Global Language

English as a Global Language

English as a Global Language

Synopsis

David Crystal's informative account of the rise of English as a global language explores the history, current status and potential of English as the international language of communication. This new edition of his classic work includes additional sections on 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 comprehensive bibliography reflect the expanded scope of the revised edition. An internationally renowned scholar in the field of language and linguistics, David Crystal received an Order of the British Empire in 1995 for his services to the English language. He is the author of several books with Cambridge, including Language and the Internet (2001), Language Death (2000), English as a Global Language (1997), Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language (1997), and Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language (1995) as well as Words on Words (University of Chicago, 2000). First edition Hb (1997): 0-521-59247-X First edition Pb (1998): 0-521-62994-2

Excerpt

Although English as a global language did not appear until 1997, it was actually written in 1995, which in 2002 seems a very long time ago, as far as global linguistic developments are concerned. The 1990s were a revolutionary decade, in that respect, with a proliferation of new linguistic varieties arising out of the worldwide implementation of the Internet, an emerging awareness of the crisis affecting the world's endangered languages, and an increasingly public recognition of the global position of English. Academic publications relating to this last topic seriously increased in number and weight. The largely article-driven literature of previous decades had typically been exploratory and programmatic, restricted to individual situations, anecdotal in illustration, lacking a sociolinguistic frame of reference, and focusing on the written (and usually literary) language. By contrast, the 1990s saw the emergence of a more comprehensive perspective in which spoken varieties became prominent, there was a real increase in the amount of descriptive data, and attempts were made to arrive at explanations and to make predictions of an appropriately general and sociolinguistically informed character.

In particular, several book-length treatments of English appeared each providing a personal synthesis of previous observations and speculations, and focusing on the phenomenon of global English as an end in itself. By the end of the decade, the different attitudes had highlit a number of important theoretical issues . . .

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