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, world authority on the English language, presents a lively and factual account of the rise of English as a global language and explores the whys and wherefores of the history, current status and future potential of English as the international language of communication. English has been lauded as the most 'successful' language ever, with 1,500 million speakers worldwide; but Crystal avoids taking sides and tells the story in a measured but engaging way, backed by facts and figures. This new edition of his classic book includes new material (on the vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation of New Englishes), footnotes, new tables, and a full bibliography. There are updates throughout. This is a book for anyone of any nationality concerned with English: teachers, students, language professionals, politicians, general readers and anyone with a love of the language.

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