The Indologist Johannes Bronkhorst takes issue with my account of the spread of Sanskrit round the Indian Ocean in his book "Buddhism in the Shadow of Brahmanism" pp. 43-46. Following tradition, he would emphasize the role of Brahmans in spreading use of Sanskrit, rather than Hindu cults, Indian trade, and other Aryan languages more generally. Although he claims my view is "seriously misleading", he presents no evidence to distinguish his view from mine, or from Sheldon Pollock's "Sanskrit cosmopolis", which he discusses immediately after.

The 'Johnson' column in a recent Economist takes issue with my views on the future of English and machine translation.


I plan to give the following talks over the remainder of this year (2013).

1. "Crossing language barriers – effects on religion", a plenary address on 5 September at Bremen International Conference on Colonial and Postcolonial Linguistics.

2. "Mutually understandable languages in the world, their history and development", a plenary address on 15 October at Aasentunet's conference on political and historical language concerns, in Oslo, Norway

3. "Desarrollo del Sistema Verbal desde el Muisca hasta el Uwa: Participios, Partículas y Preguntas.", a plenary address on 2 November at Cátedra Pensamiento Colombiano 2013 – II (Lengua y cultura muysca), to be held at Universidad Nacional, Bogotá, Colombia

This is the website of Nicholas Ostler, linguist and author. You are very welcome.

My collected interventions on BBC Radio programmes can be found here.

My aim in setting this up is to provide some background knowledge about me and my books and other writings. Basically, it is here to enable you to follow up on points of interest that you may find in them – increasingly an easy thing to do given so many resources on the Internet.

I begin with the development of my ideas, the life of my mind – as it has appeared to me, living through it.

Then I touch on the books I have written for general readership since 2001.

Next is a page of listings, including my scholarly work in various branches of linguistics since 1977; and more engaging pieces that have appeared in various literary and current-affairs magazines. Many items have links to copies of the work; others will need chasing down in more traditional ways.

Finally, I have a page which is filled with my answers to some frequently asked questions.

If you want to contact me, I can always be reached by email, using my first name "Nicholas" at ostler-dot-net.

Nicholas Ostler