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Extended Audio Sample Globish: How the English Language Became the World’s Language, by Robert McCrum Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (233 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert McCrum Narrator: James Langton Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Robert McCrum argues, brilliantly and provocatively, that England’s greatest contribution to the world is English. The empire may be gone. But Globish explains why the language still rules.”

    Malcolm Gladwell

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Martin | 2/16/2014

    " Interesting story on how the english language became the de facto lingua franca of the world. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Thebookmistress | 2/13/2014

    " Both the author and I seemed to have problems focusing on the putative point of the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Kristopher | 2/7/2014

    " This was the "textbook" for my History of the English Language class. It's an interesting topic, but I really just didn't like this book much. It only focuses on the English language about half the time, and only half of that is about the English language spreading beyond the Angleo-American sphere to become the world's language. The rest is a standard history text of Britain running from the Celts up through the British Empire and then Churchill. I wish McCrum had focused more on language, even at the risk of making his book less "acceptable" to a general audience. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Nathan Shepherd | 1/24/2014

    " Contains lots of interesting British and American history, much that I did not know. However, the book seemed to have a difficult time coming to its point / making its point. The argument was disjointed and difficult to follow. That said, I really enjoyed the historical tidbits... "

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About the Author
Author Robert McCrum

Robert McCrum, literary editor of London’s Observer, was the editor in chief of the publishing firm Faber & Faber in London for nearly twenty years. The author of six highly acclaimed novels and coauthor of the international bestseller The Story of English, he is also the author of the biography Wodehouse: A Life.