Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Globish: How the English Language Became the…

Globish: How the English Language Became the World's Language (edition 2010)

by Robert McCrum

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
171869,515 (3)2
Title:Globish: How the English Language Became the World's Language
Authors:Robert McCrum
Info:Viking (2010), Paperback, 320 pages

Work details

Globish: How the English Language Became the World's Language by Robert McCrum



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 2 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
I wish there were a rating for "It was Ok." There were elements of Globish that were interesting, but I felt like it was mostly a disjointed historical account of many different events that seemed to be linked together by the author pointing out that English was spoken during that event or in that place. It never moved beyond a laundry list of all the ways that English has made an impact in the world; the organization was the issue. ( )
  bjoelle5 | Feb 10, 2016 |
A bit long-winded - the writing style wore me down at times. I got the impression that the author likes the sound of his own voice. One might be disappointed if expecting to be plunged straight into a 'Slumdog Millionaire', contemporary account of modern globish: this is primarily a history book. It's not until the last 30 pages or so that we even get into the last 50 years. On the other hand, it's very erudite, very well-researched, and it is important to know why English - sorry, Globish - is so prevalent nowadays.
  Raftus | Jan 3, 2013 |
The thesis of McCrum's book is that English (for which he provides a somewhat scattered historical tail) is evolving into a new language or dialect which he has dubbed Globish. From his account it's really difficult to figure out whether this now has local variants that are mutually incomprehensible, or whether we now truly have a global language.

This is a somewhat scattered book. As at least an amateur historian, I expect a coherent historial narrative, unfortunately this book wanders from point to point trying to prove a thesis. The author does begin at the beginning. The first part I found particularly interesting because it puts Beowulf and Chaucer in context. The narrative mostly focuses on the seminal documents of early English and Medieval history, with an eye toward their lasting impact on the language. A brief account of the Reformation (which he seemed to want to blame on the influence of Anne Boleyn), the King James Bible, and the ongoing impact of Shakespeare.

The second part migrates to the American colonies and seems mostly taken up with a mixture of dictionaries and political theory. Abraham Lincoln is paired with Mark Twain. The impact of African Americans in the evolution of English is covered in one chapter that stretches from the early days of slavery to the election of President Barak Obama.

Part three is homage to the long nineteenth century of the British Empire. Modern history in the last third of the book seems even more vague. It's also tilted. He never discusses, or appears to visit, Latin America. What of the thriving Hispanic commercial sector in the U.S.?

What he really wants to say is that the mother tongue of the Web is English and that the mother tongue of a vast proportion of international business is English. I don't know enough about either of those subjects to check his assumptions.

His thesis, nevertheless, is poignant. Is it really true that, given that I have the misfortune of only being fluent in English, that I can now wander the world without getting lost?
  3wheeledlibrarian | Apr 6, 2012 |
I enjoyed this book. It combines a readable and entertaining introduction to the development of the English language, with a broad history of the English-speaking world. I found it full of fascinating detail and was interested in the "Globish" concept that the language has released itself from its attachment to traditionally English speaking countries and is evolving across the world in ways of its own. ( )
  janglen | Dec 3, 2011 |
This book is titled "Globish: how the English Language Became the World's Language," and the author seems to focus on the "how" part of the title and not as much on English itself. I personally happen to like reading about history, so I enjoyed this book as a tour of Anglo-American history with a linguistic tint. There are those who don't really like history, and if you're one of them, you may not fully appreciate this book. Parts of the book deal directly with development of English as a language, but they are not the majority.

If you're looking to read about English as a global language, I recommend the last section of the book. Having exhausted all of the available history, the book shifts into overdrive and the author starts talking about English on the current global stage (the "Globish" part of the title).

I liked the book over all, and if you like history and the history of language, I think you will too. ( )
  IsaacPearson | Apr 6, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
It’s a wide-ranging — if etymologically flawed — work, which will be of interest to readers coming fresh to the history of the way the English language has developed.
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For my mother,
Christine McCrum,
who gave me English:
with love and thanks.
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393062554, Hardcover)

How English conquered the world: a Guns, Germs, and Steel argument based on the power of the word.

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 best-selling 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:57 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Robert McCrum, coauthor of the best-selling book and television series The Story of English, shows how the language of the Anglo-American imperium has become the world's lingua franca. --from vendor description.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
47 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (3)
2 6
2.5 2
3 5
3.5 1
4 5
4.5 1

W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393062554, 0393339777

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,094,410 books! | Top bar: Always visible