Throughout human history, the fate of languages has been closely linked to political power relationships. Political shifts in the international system continue to affect linguistic patterns, which today are still in a state of flux following the end of the Cold War. This book considers the effects of present-day trends in global politics on the relative status of languages, and the directions in which the linguistic hierarchy might develop in the future. What are the prospects for the continuing spread of English? Will other traditionally prominent languages such as French and German gain or lose influence? Will languages such as Arabic and Japanese increase in international status? Will minority languages continue to lose ground and disappear? The book assesses these prospects, looking at the major world regions, and with its interdisciplinary approach it will appeal to researchers and students of sociolinguistics and language planning as well as of international relations.

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