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David Crystal, world authority on the English language, has written a timely and informative account of the phenomenon of English as a global language. It includes a historical summary of the global development of English; an analysis, well supported by facts and figures, of the current spread and status of English as a first and second language internationally; and an informed assessment - by one of the leading scholars of and general writers about language matters - of the future of English. The book asks three basic questions: what makes a world language? why is English the leading candidate? and will it continue to hold that position? It steers even-handedly through the minefield of political debate about the cultural hegemony of English, and will appeal to anyone with an interest in language issues, whatever their political views on the subject.