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Globish: How the English Language became the World's Language (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 26. Mai 2011

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Globish presents a terrifically interesting prism through which to view the history of English . . . Most fascinating and amusing . . . Mr. McCrum s rapid journey . . . makes entertaining reading.--Paul Levy

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Robert McCrum argues, brilliantly and provocatively, that England s greatest contribution to the world is English. The empire may be gone. But Globish explains why the language still rules. Malcolm Gladwel Praise forP. G. Wodehouse: A Life: For as long as P.G. Wodehouse is read, this will be the seminal work of reference, the indispensable vade mecum. In other words as the Master might say ripping. John le Carr McCrum . . . has written a biography that, if the subject were a general or a politician, would be dubbed magisterial. This is a magisterial biography: disinterested, but never detached, and always intriguing. Under the kindly and scholarly tutelage of McCrum, you might want to explore here the Wodehouse genius, the inconsistencies and downright silliness in the man s life. Frank McCourt, Globe and Mail [An] absorbing and generous biography, which now takes its rightful place as the life. Christopher Buckley, Los Angeles Times Book Review This book is a triumph. Not only should all P. G. Wodehouse fans read it, but it is a masterly picture of twentieth-century history. A. N. Wilson " -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.

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Wäre dieses Buch vor hundert Jahren erschienen, hätte ich es als antiquarische Unterhaltungslektüre durchaus genossen. Im 21. Jahrhundert auf einem gut erschlossenen wissenschaftlichen Gebiet - der Linguistik - eine solche Sammlung von unsinnigen Vorurteilen zu publizieren, ist jedoch unverzeihlich.

Das ganze Buch kreist um die arrogante und schlicht falsche Behauptung, dass Englisch zu einer Weltsprache geworden sei, weil es anderen Sprachen strukturell überlegen sei. Historische Gegenbeispiele wie Russisch und Arabisch werden ignoriert. So wie diese drei Sprachen verbreitete sich auch das Englische durch politisch-wirtschaftliche Expansion ' und nicht etwa deshalb, weil Substantive im Englischen kein grammatisches Geschlecht aufweisen.

Der Autor behauptet, dass Englische zu einer internationalen Verkehrssprache wurde, weil es nicht die grammatischen "Probleme" anderer Sprachen (üppige Morphologie, grammatisches Geschlecht etc.) aufweise. McCrum schreibt etwa, dass es im Altenglischen noch nicht möglich gewesen sei, "diffizile Gedanken ohne komplizierte Zusammensetzungen wie im Deutschen auszudrücken, z.B. frumwoerc (Schöpfung) aus fruma (Anfang) und weorc (Werk)". Soll heißen: Das Altenglische war so barbarisch und umständlich wie Deutsch. (Wie heißt noch mal "Weltanschauung" auf Englisch? Oder "Schadenfreude"?) Dass etwa die überkommene Rechtschreibung und die vergleichsweise große Zahl an Vokalen des Englischen Lernenden durchaus Probleme bereiten, wird ausgeblendet.

McCrums eigene Darstellung suggeriert auch einen umgekehrten Schluss: Dass die wiederholte Kolonisierung und Besiedlung der britischen Inseln, d.h.
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Amazon.com: 3.7 von 5 Sternen 35 Rezensionen
46 von 51 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen A shallow review of history and modern trends: good for splashing fluff but not for depth. 12. Juni 2010
Von Alexander G. Davis - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
I heard a glowing review of this book on NPR, and bought it for my Kindle within a few minutes. I have always had an intense interest both in the evolution of English and in its current spread into a global phenomenon, and so a book that looked at those two things seemed just about perfect. And what was better, the author was the guy who did that "A History of English" thing on the BBC. How could I go wrong?

Well, it wasn't a great book. It wasn't bad, but it had very little depth. A substantial portion of it was just a review of basic history, such as a description of Shakespeare's contributions or a restatement of one of Thomas Friedman's notions - and then with a tacked-on explanation of how it related to the development of Globish. The real mechanics of the process of English's evolution was seldom touched except in the most common way (i.e. a reminder that our most-used words all come from the Old). This was disappointing - I was hoping for something a little more scholarly and new. I was also disappointed in a similar way in the sections on the modern use of Globish - we are given only some light anecdotes reviewing the familiar trends of campus-educated Indians making the language their own and growing into a niche. It was about as innovative as last night's PB&J sandwich.

In short, this would probably be a great book for beginners and people unfamiliar with the things being discussed. If you weren't aware that Shakespeare coined a lot of words and that shucks we still use them today, then this is for you. But if you want something innovative and deeper, then save your money. Or I guess bring it to the beach.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Interesting stories, but also much nonsense 23. Dezember 2010
Von MikeUnwalla - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
McCrum's Globish is different from both Nerrière's Globish and Gogate's Globish. McCrum does not explain the difference between Globish and English. Usually, when McCrum writes the word 'Globish', the word 'English' is apparently an equivalent alternative.

McCrum's history of English is interesting. However, McCrum sometimes writes nonsense. For example, McCrum writes, "Language, it cannot be stressed too strongly, is intrinsically neutral, but it is no contradiction to claim that English - by virtue of its origins and history - is unique."

Change 'English' to 'French' or to 'Arabic' or to 'Cantonese'. Without knowledge of the criteria that are used to evaluate uniqueness, the languages are interchangeable. For example, "Language, it cannot be stressed too strongly, is intrinsically neutral, but it is no contradiction to claim that Arabic - by virtue of its origins and history - is unique."

McCrum does not explain what he means by the term 'neutral' in the context of language. Near the end of the book, McCrum apparently contradicts the statement that language is neutral. McCrum writes, "Those who want to characterize Globish as a kind of benign virus that has worked its way into every corner of daily life must also acknowledge its imperial and colonial past." If language is neutral, why must I "acknowledge its imperial and colonial past"?

Sometimes, I do not understand what McCrum wants to say. In the examples that follow, I understand each word, but I do not understand the sentences:
* "At the interface of technology and global capitalism, the world's English responds to specific, local imperatives, as Jean-Paul Nerrière understood when he coined 'Globish' in 1995."
* "So viral is its [Globish's] ceaseless expression round the world that to separate cause and effect is virtually impossible. With a supranational momentum, above and beyond American and British influences, Globish sustains itself as both chicken and egg."

Unfortunately, too much of the text in Globish is similar to the example sentences. The words flow, but the meaning is not clear.
49 von 68 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen The "Globish" menace to Standard ESL Teaching 21. Mai 2010
Von C J Singh - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
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Reviewed by C J Singh

Historically, in 1600 A.D., at the time of the founding of the East India Company, in London, languages of the Indo-European family were already native to most of the lands extending from Ireland to the border of Burma six thousand miles east, and had been so for thousands of years. At present, the Indo-European language family has more than twice the number of native speakers (46 percent) than the next largest family, the Sino-Tibetan (21 percent), which has always been confined to East Asia. These numbers suggest that one of the Indo-European languages was likely to become the common language of the globe. English won. (Historical ifs: Spanish, if Philip's Armada had succeeded; French, if Napolean; German, if Hitler; Russian, if Stalin.)

So, what is this "Globish"? The term was initially coined by Madhukar Gogate, an Indian linguist, to describe an artificial dialect he created and presented to the Simplified Spelling Society of U.K. in 1998. (Example: "She is fine" in "Globish" becomes "She iz faain.") Like many earlier spelling-reform attempts, his " Globish" didn't take root. In 2004, Jean-Paul Nerriere, a retired French marketer, trademarked the term "Globish" and later published a book, provocatively titling it as "DON'T SPEAK ENGLISH!: PARLEZ GLOBISH." Nerriere's "Globish" is a subset of 1500 words and limited syntactical patterns derived from Standard English. "Globish" has precedents in "Basic English," a subset of 850 words proposed by linguist and philosopher Charles Ogden in his book, "Basic English: A General Introduction with Rules and Grammar" published in 1930. And, since 1959, "Special English," a subset of about 1500 words and simplified grammar, has been used in broadcasting "Voice of America" news to lands where English is a second language.

The projected marketing of Nerriere's "Globish" textbooks, which if adopted by instructors of English, will dumb down the teaching of English globally. Building on the initialism ESL for English as a Second Language, I propose the acronyms BESL for "Beginners' English as a Second Language" and SESL for "Standard English as a Second Language" instead of "Globish." The current Beginners' ESL books (levels one, two,...) get the learner started and present an incentive to upgrade from the beginners' levels to the Standard ESL books. Effective ESL books need to be specific to the learner 's first language as established by expert ESL scholars in books like Learner English: A Teacher's Guide to Interference and other Problems , edited by Michael Swan & Bernard Smith, and published by Cambridge University Press in 2001. This guide, a favorite of many ESL instructors, succinctly documents the interference patterns specific to twenty languages, ranging from Japanese to Spanish. (I routinely recommend the relevant chapter of this book to ESL authors for self-editing before I accept their manuscripts for editing.) Another excellent resource for ESL teachers is Understanding ESL Writers: A Guide for Teachers by Ilona Leki. When SESL writers start outnumbering native English writers, they will contribute more to the ever-evolving "Standard" English, making it the truly global language. No doubt, entrenched Anglophobes will resist the acronyms BESL and SESL because both include E for English. Quel dommage! Let them pretend that they have silenced the odious E simply by proclaiming the term "Globish."

Robert McCrum, in the prologue to his book, states his thesis: "Anglo-American culture and its language have become as much a part of global consciousness as MS-DOS or the combustion engine" (page 14). The book is aptly subtitled "How the English Language Became the World's Language."

"In 2006-7, about 80 percent of the world's home pages on World Wide Web were in some kind of English compared with German (4.5 percent) and Japanese (3.1 percent), while Microsoft publishes no fewer than eighteen versions of its `English language' spellcheckers.... A film such as Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding is typical of the world's new English culture. The Indian bridegroom has a job in Houston. The wedding guests jet in from Melbourne and Dubai and speak in a mishmash of English and Hindi.... Take for instance, the 2006 Man Booker Prize. The winner was The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai, an Indian-born writer. ...The British critic John Sutherland was moved to describe Desai's work as `a globalized novel for a globalized world'" (pp 9-10).

McCrum's "Chapters 1 through 12, a biography of the English language, will sound very familiar to readers who've watched the popular documentary series on PBS, based on the book The Story of English , coauthored by McCrum. (Since its inception in 1986, the documentary has been shown many times on the San Francisco affiliate of PBS and many other affiliates.) "Globish" can be read as if it were the fourth edition of "The Story of English, third revised edition," published in 2002.

The twelve chapters are grouped under four parts: Founders; Pioneers; Populisers; and Modernisers. McCrum's retelling of the biography of English is engrossing. A few of his examples follow.

On Shakespeare: "Recent scholarship has shown that Shakespeare was actually an inveterate reviser," discrediting the assertion of the two actors who published the First Folio, "His mind and hand went together . . .Wee have scarse received from him a blot in his paper" (page 84). Shakespeare "to his bitterly envious contemporary Robert Greene, on his deathbed, was an `upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers . . . in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in the country'" (page 85). "It's nice to note that the motto of Shakespeare's theatre, the Globe, was `Totus mundus agit histrionem,' the whole world is a playhouse" (p 87).

On American-English: "From as early as 1735 there had been attacks on the `barbarous English' of the colonists and jokes about `Americanisms' such as antagonize, belittle, and placate. Dr Johnson had written trenchantly about `the American dialect, a tract of corruption to which every language, widely diffused, must always be exposed'" (p 112).

On American literature: "Hemingway put it succinctly. `All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called `Huckleberry Finn.'It's the best book we've had. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since'" (p 124). Good choice of quote; no English person could have written "Huckleberry Finn."

McCrum cites Oscar Wilde's comment on American English : "The Irishman drank the silver miners of Leadville under the table before formulating a Wildean paradox: `We really have everything in common with America nowadays,' he declared, `except, of course language' " (p 110).

[Yeah, right. Here's my fictive dialogue between two cousins, Stanford Singh visiting Oxford Singh:
Stanford Singh: Merriam-Webster says...
Oxford Singh: Nonsense. There's just one dictionary of the English language: `The Oxford English Dictionary.' Forget Mary-Ann Webster -- the American woman you keep quoting. Get over your infatuation with her!
Stanford Singh: Come on, Merriam-Webster Dictionary is used by many more people globally.
Oxford Singh: Don't think, we haven't noticed you Americans pinched our language. You owe us back royalties -- trillions and trillions of dollars!
Stanford Singh: The last British-English speaker on the planet will be an Oxford graduate from India.]

On World English: "How can one be original in a foreign tongue? As V.S. Naipaul puts it in his essay `Reading and Writing,' `I had begun to put together an English literary anthology of my own. . . . I wished to be a writer. But together with the wish had come the knowledge that the literature that had given me the wish came from another world, far away from our own.' Out of this limbo, the world's English begins to emerge" (p 209). Chapters 13 through 15 resume McCrum's argument stated in the prologue.

"In the twenty-first century the fusion of the English and the Hindi traditions...is creating a society uniquely equipped to contribute to, and benefit from, the development of English" (p 265). "The Times of India" has been certified as the world's largest selling English-language daily, and, according to ComScore, TOI online is the world's most visited newspaper website, ahead of "The New York Times," "The Sun," and "USA Today." Three of the examples McCrum cites are as follows.

A publishing firm in India, Pre-Media Global, founded by the brother-and-sister team of Kapil Viswanathan and Kami Narayan, both Indian graduates of the Harvard MBA program, offers outsource services for editing, designing, and producing for clients such as Wiley, Pearson, Houghton Mifflin, and McGraw-Hill. Second, the 2008 Man-Booker Prize was awarded in London's Guildhall to Aravind Adiga, for his novel The White Tiger , the fourth Indian novel to win. And third, the film Slumdog Millionaire , which won eight Oscars and four Golden Globes. Based on a debut novel, "Q & A," by an Indian diplomat, Vikas Swarup, its screenplay was successfully adapted by Simon Beaufoy, who simplified the dialogues, while maintaining the storyline.

I highly recommend McCrum's new book written for the general reader in excellent Standard English, not "Globish," despite his acquiescence -- temporary acquiescence, I hope -- for the latter term.
-- C.J. Singh
11 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen A curious book 23. Juni 2010
Von Jon Hunt - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
There is nothing particularly wrong with Robert McCrum's new book, "Globish". In fact there are many good points he makes about the spread of English around the globe over the centuries. But I came away from the end wondering about what this book was intended to be. It certainly wasn't about the English language, as a language.

Anglophilia is big for McCrum (don't even bother to read "Globish" if you're French...you might want to start another revolution) but if this book is supposed to be one concerning English, the connections are rarely made. "Globish" is more about the socio-economic developments within the increasing English-speaking world and the narrative leaves you scratching your head. Why aren't there more examples of the English language? "Globish" gets off to a painfully slow start and never quite recovers. If you're not English, the long, drawn out early history of Britain is excruciating. I would have expected many more examples of the language itself, but history trumps words here and it's not very rewarding.

McCrum does occasionally have flashes of brilliance....his last pages are the best...contemporary usage of English in different countries...but by this time, one is glad simply to get to the end. For an historian, as McCrum is, I wonder where his proofreaders are....he gets the years of the battle of Gettysburg and FDR's inauguration wrong. As someone who collaborated on the terrific series, "The Story of English", I can't imagine that this book has as much disconnect as it does with the language, itself.
13 von 18 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
1.0 von 5 Sternen Run Away! 29. Juni 2010
Von Hank Mishkoff - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Terrible book, I can't believe I plowed all the way through it. It perpetrates a fraud on the reader, claiming to have something to do with the spread of English as an international language, while it's really a rambling, disjointed, incoherent jumble of passages loosely related to the development and spread of Anglo-American culture. It reads like a first draft, or perhaps a mind dump to which some editor added a title instead of forcing the author to rewrite the text around some kind of unifying theme.

If you're really interested in the story of English, I heartily recommend the aptly titled "The Story of English" -- which, oddly enough, is partly written by the same author.
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