The Future of Language

For the first time, The Routledge David Crystal Lectures brings together three of Professor David Crystal's most popular lectures on the future of language exploring key contemporary language issues.

The Future of Englishes explores the reason why English has emerged as the first truly global language — with an estimated 500 million speakers worldwide — and considers what clues the history of the language might give us about its future.

Language Death follows with a sombre look at the crisis facing the huge number of the languages under the threat of extinction. With over half the world's 7000 languages likely to disappear by the year 2100, David Crystal takes a look at why languages die and what we lose when they do.

Language and the Internet is a lively and entertaining look at how computer mediated communication, in the form of texting, email and instant messaging, is dramatically changing the way we are using language and what the implications are for this period of linguistic evolution.

You can watch clips from each of these lectures on this website and use our teaching tips as a guide to setting activities in the classroom.

The accompanying paperback supplements the lectures with a short overview of the main themes discussed, followed by a more detailed introduction to each topic and a synopsis of all the main points made in each lecture. The book finishes with Crystal's reflections on how the three interrelated topics covered here will continue to interact and contribute to the evolution of language.

Special features:

  • English subtitles
  • a cultural and usage commentary with timecodes so users can easily access points of interest
  • further reading and activities for the classroom – easy-to-follow tasks to get students engaging with language straight away
  • an index both for the DVD and the book so users can search for topics of interest.

This is an ideal resource for all university and A-level English Language and Linguistics departments and will be of interest to anyone involved in the study of language, especially those involved with teaching or learning English as a second language.

“These three lectures are all fascinating, and brilliantly delivered. In fact, the biggest problem with this disk is that there are only three; I found myself wanting more. These lectures bristle with jumping-off points for discussion and thinking about practically any linguistic, historical, or social issue.”
John Lawler, Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
“David Crystal's performance lectures are to linguistics as the Beatles are to rock — an entertaining mix of classic and innovation, a delight to watch and listen to.”
Susan Gayle Strauss, Penn State University
Book Information / Buy the book