Self-proclaimed bibliophile, culture nut and nerdfighter. English lit. and linguistics geek. Future career in publishing.
Writing merely of the English language, celebrated American critic Ralph Waldo Emerson noted that it was 'the sea which receives tributaries from every region under heaven'. In the new millenium English and the numberless manifestations of its culture surround us like a sea; and like the waters of the deep, it is full of mysteries.
- Excerpt from "Prologue"
Note: The review below was taken directly from my Goodreads account.
Globish is about how English became the dominant language in today's world. That means tracing a lot of English history from the Roman conquest all the way to present-day UK/USA and the presence of English in China and India.
I went into this book thinking it would be a large amount of historical linguistics (one of my favourite topics in linguistics), but it was a lot more history than historical linguistics. Linguistics does play a part, as McCrum mentions, in the Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Latin and other words borrowed from French, India, the USA and so on. I think I would like this book more if it delved into how the British Empire had more or less forced the English language on all of these countries, instead of, "Hey, the English were here and so they speak English; the English were also here, and that's why they have English as one of their national languages..." without really looking at the political and economical factors associated with it (except for in the last section of the book).
All in all, pretty enjoyable for this linguistics and history buff.