Words of the World: The Global Language System

Front Cover
Wiley, 2001 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 253 pages
0 Reviews
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.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Related books

Other editions - View all

References to this book

All Book Search results »

References from web pages

NLPVF:: Abram de Swaan: Words of the World (Woorden van de wereld)
Information on Abram de Swaan: Words of the World (Woorden van de wereld
www.nlpvf.nl/ book/ book2.php?Book=87

Book - ABRAM DE SWAAN - Words of the World
The Polity book catalogue page for ABRAM DE SWAAN, Words of the World
www.polity.co.uk/ book.asp?ref=0745627471

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. ...
www.ingentaconnect.com/ content/ jbp/ lplp/ 2005/ 00000029/ 00000002/ art00009;jsessionid=8qlo7qd17m844.alexandra?format=pr...

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, ...
www.sprakforsvaret.se/ sf/ index.php?id=342

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); ...
est.sagepub.com/ cgi/ reprint/ 6/ 2/ 260.pdf?ck=nck

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 ...
journals.cambridge.org/ production/ action/ cjoGetFulltext?fulltextid=254594

Managing or Celebrating Linguistic Diversity in the eu?
Managing or Celebrating. Linguistic Diversity. in the eu? Peter Yves. Departement de science politique. Université dewinnipeg. Note de recherche n ...
www.iee.umontreal.ca/ pubicationsfr_fichiers/ COLLOQUE-2004/ IvesIESfinal.pdf

Linguistic pluralism as a serious challenge to democratic life
213 •. 16. Linguistic. pluralism. as a serious. challenge to. democratic life. Dominique Schnapper. Ecole des Hautes Etudes. en Sciences Sociales ...
www.uclouvain.be/ cps/ ucl/ doc/ etes/ documents/ 16.Schnapper.pdf

‘Global English’: Linguistic Imperialism or Practical Lingua Franca?
Studies in Language & Capitalism is a peer-reviewed online journal that seeks to promote and freely distribute interdisciplinary ...
www-staff.lboro.ac.uk/ ~ssjer/ SLC1/ SLC1-6_Ives.pdf

About the author (2001)

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

Bibliographic information