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The Last Lingua Franca

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About the Author

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.


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 *

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