Englishes Past, Present, and Future

October 14, 2009 (Wednesday) / 5:00 pm6:30 pm

Englishes Past, Present, and Future

David Crystal

Honorary Professor of Linguistics, University of Wales

A mere four hundred years ago, English was being written off as a language without a future. Today it is the closest thing we have to a lingua franca, a global code shared by speakers of all nations. How did this switch in linguistic fortunes come about, and will it continue? Linguist David Crystal, author of Txtng: the Gr8 Db8, reviews current trends in language and offers some predictions.

David Crystal is the acclaimed author of and contributor to more than 100 books on languages, including Language Death, English as a Global Language, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language, and The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. He is honorary professor of linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor, Patron of the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language, and president of the UK National Literacy Association. He is also honorary vice-president of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, the Institute of Linguists, and the Society for Editors and Proofreaders. In 1995, he received an Order of the Britsh Empire (OBE) for services to the English language and was made a Fellow of the British Academy in 2000.

His interests include English language learning and teaching, forensic linguistics, language death, "ludic linguistics" (Crystal's term for the study of language play), English style, Shakespeare, and Internet linguistics. He also blogs on language and is a frequent consultant to and guest on BBC and other major media in the UK, including the BBC Voices project in 2005.