Cover image for English as a global language
English as a global language
Crystal, David, 1941-
Personal Author:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, UK ; New York, N.Y. : Cambridge University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xv, 212 pages : illustrations, maps ; 22 cm
General Note:
Previous ed.: 1997.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PE2751 .C79 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



David Crystal's informative account of the rise of English as a global language explores the history, current status and potential of English as the international language of communication. This new edition of his classic work includes additional sections on the future of English as a world language, English on the Internet, and the possibility of an English "family" of languages. Footnotes, new tables, and a comprehensive bibliography reflect the expanded scope of the revised edition. An internationally renowned scholar in the field of language and linguistics, David Crystal received an Order of the British Empire in 1995 for his services to the English language. He is the author of several books with Cambridge, including Language and the Internet (2001), Language Death (2000), English as a Global Language (1997), Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language (1997), and Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language (1995) as well as Words on Words (University of Chicago, 2000). First edition Hb (1997): 0-521-59247-X First edition Pb (1998): 0-521-62994-2

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This is a fascinating and useful book--one for which there will be considerable demand from students and other researchers. Crystal, author or editor of a number of important books on the English language, including the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language (CH, Nov'95), has attempted to answer the question, Why has English become a de facto lingua franca, largely over the past half century? What are the factors in the rise of English to this status, and what are the implications of its relatively new role (which is likely to continue)? Chapters discuss why a global language has emerged (including such factors as the rise of international organizations) and why so recently (largely since the 1950s), the historical context for the expansion of English, its cultural foundations, the cultural legacy involved (including the role of popular media and advertising), and the likely future of global English. Crystal makes good use of maps and diagrams. No prior knowledge of the issues is required; the writing is clear and to the point without talking down. Along the way, Crystal discusses such ironic controversies as that in the US about declaring English the official language--a decision made by many other countries including some that seem unlikely (such as some former colonies of France). Crystal cites previous research and other viewpoints and writers. A model of a readily approachable, brief survey of a complicated topic--a fine introduction for a wide variety of potential users. C. Sterling; George Washington University

Table of Contents

1 Why a global language?
2 Why English? The historical context
3 Why English? The cultural foundation
4 Why English? The cultural legacy
5 The future of global English
List of tables