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Short Synopsis
In this provocative and compelling new work, the coauthor of the bestselling book and television series The Story of English shows how English became the language of the world.

Full Synopsis
It seems impossible: a small island in the North Atlantic, colonized by Rome, then pillaged for hundreds of years by marauding neighbors, becomes the dominant world power in the nineteenth century. Equally unlikely, a colony of that island nation across the Atlantic grows into the military and cultural colossus of the twentieth century. How? By the sword, of course; by trade and industrial ingenuity; but principally, and most surprisingly, by the power of their common language.

In this provocative and compelling new look at the course of empire, Robert McCrum, coauthor of the bestselling book and television series The Story of English, shows how the language of the Anglo-American imperium has become the world's lingua franca. In fascinating detail he describes the ever-accelerating changes wrought on the language by the far-flung cultures claiming citizenship in the new hegemony. In the twenty-first century, writes the author, English + Microsoft = Globish.

"Langton makes the lesson interesting, even doing believable voices for key figures such as Winston Churchill." ---AudioFile

"Listening to Langton's performance allows for a fuller understanding of the verbal differences analyzed in the book." ---Publishers Weekly Audio Review

"An overall effective work.... This book successfully appeals to language lovers and history buffs alike." ---Library Journal

"Robert McCrum argues, brilliantly and provocatively, that England's greatest contribution to the world is English." ---Malcolm Gladwell, author of the New York Times bestseller Blink

"Gripping and profoundly informative." ---Kirkus

"A thoroughly researched, cleverly told big-picture tale of how our language got to be...ungovernable...taken for granted, ever-changing." ---Philadelphia Inquirer


How the English Language Became the World's Language

Author Robert McCrum

Narrated by James Langton

Publication date Jun 7, 2010

Running time 10 hrs

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