My book "Empires of the Word" was chosen by the author and critic Henry Hitchings as the first of his recommended books on Language.
My book "The Last Lingua Franca" has also recently been reviewed at the TAUS (Translation Automation User Society) website
I shall be speaking at the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution (11 South Grove, London N6 6BS) at 8:15 pm on 1 May 2012 on "The Last Lingua Franca: the future of English as a world language".
I shall be speaking at the Hay Literary Festival at 1 pm on 6 June 2012
on "The Last Lingua Franca: the rise and fall of world languages".
I shall also be giving a plenary address at the Cambridge University
conference on Language Endangerment: Methodologies and New Challenges (6
July 2012) under the title " Endangered languages in the New
Multi-lingual order: Per Genus et Differentiam".
Published by Harper Collins UK/USA, 2005
The best cover (to date) of the various editions is on the UK hardback, as here.
It fills the space occupied by each major language (if at very different times in their histories, so, e.g., Latin fills western Europe while English fills the area of the USA) with characteristic sentiments for that language community. They are all texts of some saying that appears as epigraph to a chapter or section, with the exception of Canada's Cree syllabics, the Uighur script for Mongolian, Australia's Latin and New Zealand's English, though even there I hope that something relevant is written. Madagascar contains a special joke from the artist, Dominic Forbes. Iceland was notoriously omitted in this first version: it was back in the UK paperback.
Meanwhile, the compass rose uses a medley of symbols from Europe, China, Egypt and Guatemala, and the title's 'Word' is burnt through – yes, that is real charring – with Egyptian hieroglyphs, in another message from the book.
Published by Harper Collins UK and Walker Books/Bloomsbury USA, 2007
This parenthesized phrase in the title – which is actually quite true to the book's content – is only found in the UK paperback version which only came out in November 2009. To my mind this also has the most attractive jacket, which even contains a puff in Latin (echoing Apuleius' optimistic lead-in for his Metamorphoses).
Published by Penguin in the UK on 11 November, and by Walker Books/Bloomsbury in the USA on 1 December,
This is the cover for the US edition. I am still trying to work out if it shows the English language preserved in a bell-jar, or as a message in a bottle.