The Last Lingua Franca: The Rise and Fall of World Languages

Author(s): Nicholas Ostler


In the twenty-first century, can we really take the dominance of English for granted? This title explores the rise of a linguistic diversity.


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Frequently jaw-dropping and never less than convincing -- Henry Hitchings Financial Times A linguist of astonishing voracity ... the predictions are striking Economist Extensive and engaging...A sweepingly learned and garrulous guide to historical curiosities -- James McConnachie Sunday Times A wide-ranging linguistic perspective. -- Robert McCrum The Observer As Nicholas Ostler exhaustively documents...history shows that no language will dominate the world conversation forever...More provocatively, Ostler argues that, once the dominance of English has waned, no lingua franca will replace it. -- Jonathon Keats New Scientist A thorough analysis of the rise and fall of different lingua francas, Ostler provides us with a series of rich examples showing how these 'common languages' achieve prominence and how they subsequently, and inevitably, lose this, left to shrivel for use only as mother tongues. -- Colin Fraser Scotsman

Nicholas Ostler is the author of Empires of the World: A Language History of the World and Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin. He studied Greek, Latin and Philosophy at the University of Oxford and holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from MIT. With a working knowledge of twenty-six languages, Nicholas now runs an institute for the protection of endangered languages.

General Fields

  • : 9781846142161
  • : Penguin Books Ltd
  • : Penguin Books Ltd
  • : September 2011
  • : 198mm X 129mm X 20mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : January 2012
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Nicholas Ostler
  • : Paperback
  • : 1
  • : 420.9
  • : 352