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David Crystal

The language revolution

The twenty-first century is likely to bring many changes in the diversity of languages. Three of these are the divergence of different versions of English, the possible death of a significant number of languages, and the origin of new forms of language mediated by the internet. David Crystal has written books on each of these subjects, but in The Language Revolution he gives a consise overview of each of them, together with a look at what can be done to minimise the damage to culture that these are likely to cause. In particular he lists steps that can be taken to prevent language death.

I did feel sometimes that Crystal sometimes seemed to be standing back from the action - maybe it's because the book is essentially a summary of three larger ones. For instance he urges the provision of funds for the prevention of language death, and he suggests that artistic works should be created which raise awareness of the problems, but there isn't much of the specifics of those languages which are in danger. On the other hand, if a concise book is what you want, then this is a good place to learn about some of the changes to language which may occur in the coming decades.  |  Chronon Critical Points  |  Recent Science Book Reviews