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Letter Writing and Language Change

£67.00

Part of Studies in English Language

Richard J. Watts, Juan Manuel Hernández-Campoy, Juan Camilo Conde-Silvestre, Stephan Elspaß, Tony Fairman, Marianne Hundt, Stefan Dollinger, Alexander Bergs, Anita Auer, Susan Fitzmaurice, Mikko Laitinen, Barbara Allen, Lukas Pietsch, Lucia Siebers, Daniel Schreier
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  • Date Published: July 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107018648

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About the Authors
  • Letter Writing and Language Change outlines the historical sociolinguistic value of letter analysis, both in theory and practice. The chapters in this volume make use of insights from all three 'Waves of Variation Studies', and many of them, either implicitly or explicitly, look at specific aspects of the language of the letter writers in an effort to discover how those writers position themselves and how they attempt, consciously or unconsciously, to construct social identities. The letters are largely from people in the lower strata of social structure, either to addressees of the same social status or of a higher status. In this sense the question of the use of 'standard' and/or 'nonstandard' varieties of English is in the forefront of the contributors' interest. Ultimately, the studies challenge the assumption that there is only one 'legitimate' and homogenous form of English or of any other language.

    • Challenges the assumption that there is only one 'legitimate' and homogenous form of English or of any other language
    • Supports the view of different/alternative histories of the English language and will appeal to readers who are skeptical of 'standard' language ideology
    • Examines real letter corpora from a range of sources
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Letter Writing and Language Change highlights the rich variety of approaches that letters can offer for the study of language variation and change across time, space and the linguistic spectrum.' Terttu Nevalainen, University of Helsinki

    'A highly anticipated key publication on letter writing and language standardization, bringing together an impressive selection of contributors and a stellar editorial team. Definitely a must-read for any historical sociolinguist.' Wim Vandenbussche, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107018648
    • length: 352 pages
    • dimensions: 254 x 178 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.83kg
    • contains: 20 b/w illus. 34 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Setting the scene, letters, standards and historical sociolinguistics Richard J. Watts
    2. Assessing variability and change in early English letters Juan Manuel Hernández-Campoy and Juan Camilo Conde-Silvestre
    3. Private letters as a source for an alternative history of Middle New High German Stephan Elspaß
    4. Language in print and handwriting Tony Fairman
    5. Heterogeneity vs homogeneity Marianne Hundt
    6. Emerging standards in the colonies, variation and the Canadian letter writer Stefan Dollinger
    7. Linguistic fingerprints of authors and scribes Alexander Bergs
    8. Stylistic variation Anita Auer
    9. English aristocratic letters Susan Fitzmaurice
    10. Early nineteenth-century pauper letters Mikko Laitinen
    11. A non-standard standard? Exploring the evidence from nineteenth-century vernacular letters and diaries Barbara Allen
    12. Archaism and dialect in Irish emigrant letters Lukas Pietsch
    13. Assessing heterogeneity Lucia Siebers
    14. Hypercorrection and the persistence of local dialect features in writing Daniel Schreier
    15. Epilogue: where next? Anita Auer, Daniel Schreier and Richard J. Watts
    References
    Index.

  • Editors

    Anita Auer, Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands
    Anita Auer is Full Professor of English Linguistics at the University of Lausanne.

    Daniel Schreier, Universität Zürich
    Daniel Schreier is Full Professor of English Linguistics at the University of Zurich.

    Richard J. Watts, University of Berne
    Richard J. Watts is a former Full Professor of English Linguistics at the University of Bern, now retired.

    Contributors

    Richard J. Watts, Juan Manuel Hernández-Campoy, Juan Camilo Conde-Silvestre, Stephan Elspaß, Tony Fairman, Marianne Hundt, Stefan Dollinger, Alexander Bergs, Anita Auer, Susan Fitzmaurice, Mikko Laitinen, Barbara Allen, Lukas Pietsch, Lucia Siebers, Daniel Schreier

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