Book Review: “Empires Of The Word: A Language History Of The World” by Nicholas Ostler

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Empires Of The Word: A Language History Of The World is a fascinating book about the historical evolution of the world’s major languages. This book describes how and why certain languages persisted and became dominantly used in the world and why others fell out of use. This is as much a cultural anthropological history book as it is a dynamic linguistics book.

Empires Of The Word spans the historical antiquity of the first dominant languages, including Greek, Latin, and Ancient Chinese. As time goes on and empires collapse and expand, the book shows how different cultures begin to adopt or dominate different linguistic groups.

Author Nicholas Ostler describes what he calls the “Death of Latin” and the eventual emergence of the Romance languages from Germanic invaders. I found the development and spreading of Spanish and English to be particularly interesting. The section of the book dedicated to the evolution of the Semitic language groups of Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic are equally insightful.

Lastly, the book deals with the current top 20 languages of the earth and what the future may hold for them. Ostler then gives his hypothesis of which will become dominant and which will recede from use based on population trends and common usage.

Empires Of The Word is such a joy to read because it offers great insight into history from both social and cultural sources. It is remarkably in-depth and dense, but I found it to be an easy read for a layman with passing curiosity on the subject.  I can wholeheartedly recommend this book for anyone who has ever wondered how and why we came to speak the wide variety of languages that we do. It’s a fun travel through time and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

 

*written by Matthew Beyer

Spotlight on Informe Académico

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Informe Académico is a Spanish language database provided by Gale resources. Its Latino magazines cover business, health, technology, culture, current affairs, and other subjects. If you do better research in Spanish, or if you are trying to practice your Spanish reading comprehension, this database will be helpful for you.

Like the other Gale databases, Informe Académico lists trending searches (búsquedas principales) on its front page. For example, the current most popular topics are Cambio climático, Desarrollo económico, México democracia, Narcotráfico, and Revolución Cubana.

Informe Académico has over 9 million articles and counting. When you need the latest news in Spanish, this database is a great place to look. Simply locate Informe Académico under the library’s “Databases, E-books, and Media” tab and click on it to access this important resource.

The Best Books To Learn Programming Languages

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Learning to program? Looking for help on a specific language? The library has some books- both in print and online- that can help!

Listed below are some of our best books on popular programming languages. Click their links to see where they are located in the library (or to read them online, if they’re eBooks)!


Learning C#…

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This eBook introduces the C# language, how it connects to other languages and shares elements with them, and explains processes like remoting & creating intranet applications.

 

 

 

  • For those who already know some C#, we recommend C# In Depth.

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This book covers C# from version 2 onward, so if you’re looking for older versions, this may not be the book for you. However, it’s a great resource for more up-to-date developments. C# In Depth also moves at a faster pace since it assumes that you are not starting from scratch, which may be a plus for more experienced developers. The author writes with the tone of someone who knows and loves what he’s talking about, making this manual an enjoyable- as well as instructional- read.

 


Learning Java…

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This guide has definitions for everything, from algorithms to vectors and everything in between. It is written at an easy-to-understand level and explains the basics without embellishment.

 

 

 


Learning JavaScript…

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This bestseller takes you from your very first JavaScript script to document object model essentials. It’s a large book, but the descriptive chapter titles make it navigable. Interactive examples and exercises will have you understanding JavaScript in no time.

 

 

 

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With a tagline like “Rich, fast, versatile- JavaScript the way it should be!,” you know the authors concentrated their full efforts on streamlining jQuery. This book contains in-depth examples on various jQuery UI components, the jQuery UI library, event parameters, and more.

 

 

 


Learning Objective-C…

If you want to write applications for Apple products, take a look at Objective-C for Absolute Beginners. The library has this book in both print and eBook form.

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Equally helpful for new programmers and those who have never used OOP languages, this book allows you to learn in a visual manner. With a focus on debugging to really learn the language, Objective-C For Absolute Beginners will help you understand what you are doing each time you write an algorithm.

 

 


Learning Python…

Python Programming Fundamentals  provides both practice exercises and solutions for learning Python.

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From installing Python programs to get started, to emphasizing creativity in your programming, this manual does it all. It also takes into consideration the differences (and similarities) in using Python on Macs vs. Windows. Finally, there are even games you can play to increase your Python knowledge.

 

 


Visit the library for the programming manuals you need! We may have just what you’re looking for.