This slim volume is a significant expression of concern for the future of minority languages and the attendant cultural casualties in the age of electronic communication. The author, who is one of the foremost authorities on the English language today, also watches the direction and profile of English as a global language, or an international lingua franca, and predicts the possible scenario in the event of the likely marginalization of native English speakers by an overhelming number of the language’s non-native users. The key language theme for the 21st century, in his view, is the preservation of language ecology. The three chapters of the book summarize his arguments advanced earlier in his three books: English as a Global Language( 1997), Language Death ( 2000) and Language and the Internet (2001), with some modifications; in the remaining two chapters he views the linguistic world further “by standing on the shoulders” of these books. A quick run-through of the language trends outlined in the three chapters is quite revealing, even more so the author’s less sanguine, and more circumspect, tone. Crystal maintains that for the first time in history the world is witnessing a truly global language.
January 2006, volume 30, No 1