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The Fall of Language in the Age of English

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Winner of the Kobayashi Hideo Award, The Fall of Language in the Age of English lays bare the struggle to retain the brilliance of one’s own language in this period of English-language dominance. Born in Tokyo but also raised and educated in the United States, Minae Mizumura acknowledges the value of a universal language in the pursuit of knowledge, yet also embraces the different ways of understanding offered by multiple tongues. She warns against losing this precious diversity.

Universal languages have always played a pivotal role in advancing human societies, Mizumura shows, but in the globalized world of the Internet, English is fast becoming the sole common language of humanity. The process is unstoppable, and striving for total language equality is delusional—and yet, particular kinds of knowledge can be gained only through writings in specific languages.

Mizumura calls these writings “texts” and their ultimate form “literature.” Only through literature, and more fundamentally through the diverse languages that give birth to a variety of literatures, can we nurture and enrich humanity. Incorporating her own experiences as a writer and a lover of language, and embedding a parallel history of Japanese, Mizumura offers an intimate look at the phenomena of individual and national expression.

From Publishers Weekly

Oct 13, 2014 – A bestselling sensation in Japan, this erudite but accessible volume from novelist Mizumura (A True Novel) functions as a stirring call to consciousness about the role of language. Originally focused on concerns particular to Mizumura's native Japan, the book has been revised and translated with an eye to reaching a broader audience. This is either apt or ironic, considering its main concern is with the fate of national languages at a time when English has become the world's dominant "universal" language. To explore the subject, Mizumura offers a collection of smartly written meditations, history lessons, and theories about language. She also delves into autobiography to illustrate how her thinking was formed: after living in the United States for 20 years from the age of 12, without ever feeling completely at home there or with English, she first studied French and then moved back to Japan to write in her first language. Though less concerned than the original version with threats posed to the Japanese language by English's ubiquity, this translation still depicts the country's linguistic and literary heritage with mesmerizing vividness. For English speakers, the book presents an important opportunity to walk in someone else's shoes.
The Fall of Language in the Age of English
View in iTunes
  • $24.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary Criticism
  • Published: Jan 06, 2015
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Seller: The Perseus Books Group, LLC
  • Print Length: 240 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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