An in-depth biography of the Latin language from its very beginnings to the present day from the widely acclaimed author of `Empires of the Word'.
The Latin language has been a constant in the cultural history of the West for over two millennia. It has shaped the way we think of ourselves and of our (central) place in the world. It has formed and united us as Europeans, has been the foundation of our education for centuries and defined the way in which we express our thoughts, our faith and our knowledge of the workings of the world. And yet, Latin began life as the cumbersome dialect of a small southern Italian city-state.
Its active use lasted three times as long as Rome's Empire and its use echoes on in the law codes of half the world, in terminologies of biology and medicine, and until forty years ago in the litany of the Catholic Church, the most populous form of Christianity.
In `Ad Infinitum', Nicholas Ostler examines the reasons why Latin made such a long-lasting impact on language, and how it managed to stay alive for two millennia despite the cultural superiority of Greek. He will look at how Latin's sturdy roots remained untouched while empires rose and fell, the influence of religion, war and the ways it has progressed through medieval times right up until the present day.
Nicholas Ostler is a scholar and scientist of languages, who has a working knowledge of 26 languages and who, five years ago, set up the Foundation for Endangered Languages, an international organisation, to provide funding and support to document and revitalise languages in peril. With his own company Linguacubun Ltd., he regularly advises governments and corporations on policy in the field of computers and natural language processing.