David Crystal, world authority on the English language, has written a timely and informative account of the phenomenon of English as a global language. It includes a historical summary of the global facts and figures, of the current spread and status of English as a first or second language internationally; and an informed assessment of the future of English. The book answers three basic questions: What makes a world language? Why is English the leading candidate? and why it will continue to hold that position. It steers even-handedly through the minefield of political debate about the cultural hegemony of English, and will appeal to anyone with an interest in language issues, whatever their political views on the subject.