Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Art & Culture: Globish: How the English Language Became the World’s Language by Robert McCrum

There’s something deliciously industrious about Globish (W.W. Norton), novelist, journalist and premature curmudgeon Robert McCrum’s take on how English took over the world. McCrum sums things up in the prologue:

Globish is a book about a phenomenon so obvious and all-pervading that it is sometimes taken for granted. It begins with the origins, and examines the basic elements of Early English that remain so remarkably functional today. From the founders to the pioneers in just one perilous transatlantic crossing, a voyage that millions completed in hope, degradation or despair: the making of American and African-American English is a vital turning point.

Compared to the density of thought McCrum establishes in the prologue, the book itself is surprisingly lively. Clearly, the author has a passion for his subject. McCrum takes us through the rise to prominence -- nay: dominance -- of the English language in our modern world. In that way, Globish sometimes feels like a biography -- in this case, of a language. At other times it reads like passionately shared history. At all times, though, Globish is a deeply fascinating book. McCrum brings history -- and language -- to vibrant life.

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Anonymous Brian Barker said...

Globish should not indeed dominate the World, because this would be unethical.

Globish reminds me of another project called "Basic English" Unfortunately this failed, because native English speakers could not remember which words not to use :)

So it's time to move forward and adopt a neutral non-national language, taught universally in schools worldwide,in all nations.

As a native English speaker, I would prefer Esperanto

Your readers may be interested in the following video at Professor Piron was a translator with the United Nations in Geneva.

A glimpse of Esperanto can be seen at

Friday, June 4, 2010 at 10:09:00 AM PDT  

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