How the English Language Became the World's Language

Publisher: Anchor Canada
A small island in the North Atlantic, colonized by Rome, then pillaged for hundreds of years by marauding neighbours, becomes the dominant world power in the 19th century. As its power spreads, its language follows. Then, across the Atlantic, a colony of that tiny island grows into the military and cultural colossus of the 20th century. These centuries of empire-building and war, international trade and industrial ingenuity will bring to the world great works of literature and extraordinary movies, cricket pitches and episodes of Dallas, the printing press and the internet. But what happens next is quite unprecedented. While the global dominance of Anglo-American power appears to be on the wane, the English language has acquired an astonishing new life of its own. With a supra-national momentum, it is now able to zoom across time and space at previously unimaginable speeds. In Robert McCrum's analysis, the cultural revolution of our times is the emergence of English, a global phenomenon as never before, to become the world's language. In the 21st century English + Microsoft = Globish.

Globish takes us on a riveting and enlightening journey of the spread of a global English, from the icy swamps of pre-Roman Saxony to the shopping malls of Seoul, from the study of 'Crazy English' TM in China to crowds of juvenile wizards mobbing bookshop tills across the world. Along the way it gives new meaning to a faded old brown parchment (the Magna Carta), a 272 word presidential speech (the Gettysburg address) and a scratchy black and white film of a couple of men in space suits.


In the Beginning
Four Invasions and a Cultural Revolution
I felt an unconscious thrill, as if something had stirred me, half-wakened from sleep. There was something very remote and strange and beautiful behind those words, if I could grasp it, far beyond Ancient English.
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"Robert McCrum argues, brilliantly and provocatively, that England's greatest contributon to the world is English. The empire may be gone. But Globish explains why the language still rules."
— Malcolm Gladwell