The English Is Coming: How One Language Is Sweeping The World examines the rise of the English language as a true global cultural phenomenon, one which has not only become the international language
The English Is Coming: How One Language Is Sweeping The World examines the rise of the English language as a true global cultural phenomenon, one which has not only become the international language of business, aviation, diplomacy and science, but also one that has absorbed so many words from other languages to make it a language connected to every region of the globe.
The path that the author, Leslie Dunton-Downer, has taken to explore the subject is to pick 30 words and recount their origins, and in doing so, reveal how English has become the language it is today, one which adapts to changing conditions and assimilates new terms within a short span.
It is an intriguing journey, learning how elements from disparate groups and time periods have come together to build the language that has become the first truly global lingua franca. But the stories presented by Dunton-Downer aren't dry and scholarly, rather they demonstrate the vibrancy of the English language through intriguing anecdotes and examples. In many ways, it reminds me of James Burke's Connections and The Day The Universe Changed on a smaller scale, in that by using these specific words, it paints a much broader picture of how English became the language it is today and the historical events that encompassed them, like how the word "bikini" is linked not just to swimwear but the atomic bomb as well, or how the word "blog" is intrinsically linked to a decision Tim Berners-Lee made early in the development of the World Wide Web (or as he had originally referred to it, the Information Mesh).