Words of the World: The Global Language System

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Wiley, 2001 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 253 pages
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This bold and accessible study of human languages and communication explores issues which are at the forefront of today's globalized society.


The human species is divided into more than five thousand language groups that do not understand each other. And yet these groups constitute one coherent world language system, connected by multilingual speakers in a surprisingly powerful way. The chances of a language thriving depend on its position in the system. There are thousands of small, peripheral languages, each connected to one of a hundred central languages. The entire system is held together by one global language: English. A language is a 'hypercollective' good: the more speakers it has, the higher its communication value for each one of them. Thus, when people think that a language is gaining new speakers, that in itself is a reason for them to want to learn it too. That is why, in an age of globalization, only a few languages remain for transnational communication and these often prevail even in national societies.


This important book discusses a number of specific constellations in detail: India, Indonesia, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa and the European Union. De Swaan concludes by providing a sober but illuminating view of language policy in multilingual societies. This book will be essential reading for those studying sociology, communication studies and linguistics.

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NLPVF:: Abram de Swaan: Words of the World (Woorden van de wereld)
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Book - ABRAM DE SWAAN - Words of the World
The Polity book catalogue page for ABRAM DE SWAAN, Words of the World
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ingentaconnect Abram de Swaan. Words of the World: The Global ...
Words of the World: The Global Language System. Author: Tonkin, Humphrey. Source: Language Problems & Language Planning, Volume 29, Number 2, 2005 , pp. ...
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Språkförsvaret: JLIE Review
Words of The World: The Global Language System. Abram de Swaan. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2001, 253 + xi pages, (price, hardcover US$68.95, ...
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Theory European Journal of Social
Abram de Swaan, Words of the World: The Global Language System. Cambridge: Polity. Press, 2001, xi + 253 pp. inc index, £50/$68.95, ISBN 0745627471 (hbk); ...
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English in Globalization: Three Approaches
Words of the World: The Global Language System. Abram de Swaan, Cam-. bridge, England: Polity, 2001, 253 + xi pages, $68.95 (hardcover), $31.95 (soft- ...
www.leaonline.com/ doi/ pdf/ 10.1207/ s15327701jlie0301_4

Endangered languages, sociolinguistics, and linguistic sentimentalism
A. de Swaan (2001) Words of the World: the Global Language System. (Cambridge: Polity). 21. K. Baschwitz (1938) Du und die Masse. Studien zu einer exakten ...
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Managing or Celebrating Linguistic Diversity in the eu?
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About the author (2001)

Abram de Swaan is Chairman of the Amsterdam School of Social Research (ASSR) at the University of Amsterdam.

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