Just how did a dialect spoken by a handful of shepherds in
Northern Spain become the world's second most spoken language, the
official language of twenty-one countries on two continents, and
the unofficial second language of the United States? Jean-Benoit
Nadeau and Julie Barlow, the husband-and-wife team who chronicled
the history of the French language in "The Story of French"," " now
look at the roots and spread of modern Spanish. Full of surprises
and honed in Nadeau and Barlow's trademark style, combining
personal anecdote, reflections, and deep research, "The Story of
Spanish" is the first full biography of a language that shaped the
world we know, and the only global language with two names--Spanish
The story starts when the ancient Phoenicians set their sights
on "The Land of the Rabbits," Spain's original name, which the
Romans pronounced as "Hispania." The Spanish language would pick up
bits of Germanic culture, a lot of Arabic, and even some French on
its way to taking modern form just as it was about to colonize a
New World. Through characters like Queen Isabella, Christopher
Columbus, Cervantes, and Goya, "The Story of Spanish" shows how
Spain's Golden Age, the Mexican Miracle, and the Latin American
Boom helped shape the destiny of the language. Other, more somber
episodes, also contributed, like the Spanish Inquisition, the
expulsion of Spain's Jews, the destruction of native cultures, the
political instability in Latin America, and the dictatorship of
"The Story of Spanish" shows there is much more to Spanish than
tacos, flamenco, and bullfighting. It explains how the United
States developed its Hispanic personality from the time of the
Spanish conquistadors to Latin American immigration and
"telenovelas." It also makes clear how fundamentally Spanish many
American cultural artifacts and customs actually are, including the
dollar sign, barbecues, ranching, and cowboy culture. The authors
give us a passionate and intriguing chronicle of a vibrant language
that thrived through conquests and setbacks to become the tongue of
Pedro Almodovar and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, of tango and ballroom
dancing, of millions of Americans and hundreds of millions of
people throughout the world.
St Martin's Press
|Country of origin:
• Julie Barlow
||Electronic book text - Windows
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