Speak: A Short History of Languages / Edition 1

Speak: A Short History of Languages / Edition 1

by Tore Janson
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0199263418

ISBN-13: 9780199263417

Pub. Date: 10/01/2003

Publisher: Oxford University Press

How does a language come into being and when does it disappear? What actually happened to Latin? When was English created? Will all people on Earth speak English or Chinese in 200 years? These are a few of the fascinating questions discussed in A Short History of Languages. It is about how historical conditions shape languages and how languages influence the

Overview

How does a language come into being and when does it disappear? What actually happened to Latin? When was English created? Will all people on Earth speak English or Chinese in 200 years? These are a few of the fascinating questions discussed in A Short History of Languages. It is about how historical conditions shape languages and how languages influence the course of history.

The book starts with a discussion of the period of hunters and gatherers, when there was a huge number of languages. It moves on to Greek and Latin, to French and Italian, and naturally a full discussion of English. Many other languages are treated, from Setswana in southern Africa to the Creole language of Nevis in the West Indies. Hanson presents languages and cultures in a lively way, with concrete examples and, often, small samples from literary works. Although no knowledge of foreign languages is required, the book provides astonishing insights into many cultures and their languages. At the same time, it identifies long terms trends in history that may allow us to make predictions about the future.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199263417
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
10/01/2003
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
312
Product dimensions:
6.70(w) x 4.70(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

List of Mapsvi
List of Tablesvi
Prefacevii
1.Languages Before History1
2.The Large Language Groups29
3.Writing and the Egyptians57
4.Greek and the Greeks69
5.Latin and the Romans89
6.Did Dante Write in Italian?108
7.From Germanic to Modern English129
8.The Era of National Languages165
9.Languages of Europe and of the World184
10.How Languages Are Born--or Made202
11.How Languages Disappear232
12.The Heyday of English251
13.And Then?267
Suggestions for Further Reading283
Index291

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