This volume traces the history of English in North America during the past 400 years. Sixteen leading authorities in the field consider how the vocabulary (both standard and slang), grammar, spelling, and usage in both the standard language and regional and social dialects have evolved, and examine the relationship of and interaction between British and American English. Separate chapters deal with African-American English, Canadian English and Newfoundland English. The volume also includes suggestions for further reading, a glossary of linguistic terms, and an extensive bibliography.
1. External history John Algeo; 2. British and American, continuity and divergence John Hurt Fisher; 3. British and Irish antecedents Michael Montgomery; 4. Contact with other languages Suzanne Romaine; 5. Americanisms Frederic G. Cassidy and Joan H. Hall; 6. Slang Jonathan Lighter; 7. Dialects Lee Pederson; 8. African-American English Salikoko Mufwene; 9. Grammatical structure Ronald R. Butters; 10. Spelling Richard Venezky; 11. Usage Edward Finegan; 12. Canadian English Laurel J. Brinton and Margery Fee; 13. Newfoundland English William Kirwin; 14. American English abroad Richard Bailey.
"Essential reading..." Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts
"Edited with great flair....Here you will find a delicious chapter on slang by Jonathan E. Lighter...The most useful part of Cambridge's book is the glossary." The New York Times
"Comprehensive in scope and impressive in quality of scholarship...certain to become a classic.... The entire set is essential for all libraries whose patrons may have an interest in the history of English." Choice