This book traces the development of Standard English, revealing a complex and intriguing history that challenges the usual textbook accounts. Leading scholars offer a wide-ranging analysis, from theoretical discussions of the origin of dialects, to detailed descriptions of the history of individual Standard English features. Ranging from Middle English to the Modern English period, the volume concludes that Standard English had no one single ancestor dialect, but is the cumulative result of generations of authoritative writing from many text types.
List of contributors; Acknowledgements; Introduction Laura Wright; Part I. Theory and Methodology: Approaches to Studying the Standardisation of English: 1. Historical description and the ideology of the standard language Jim Milroy; 2. Mythical strands in the ideology of prescriptivism Richard J. Watts; 3. Rats, bats, sparrows and dogs: biology, linguistics and the nature of Standard English Jonathan Hope; 4. Salience, stigma and standard Raymond Hickey; 5. The ideology of the standard and the development of Extraterritorial Englishes Gabriella Mazzon; 6. Metropolitan values: migration, mobility and cultural norms, London 1100–1700 Derek Keene; Part II. Processes of the Standardisation of English: 7. Standardisation and the language of early statutes Matti Rissanen; 8. Scientific language and spelling standardisation 1375–1550 Irma Taavitsainen; 9. Change from above or below? Mapping the loci of linguistic change in the history of Scottish English Anneli Meurman-Solin; 10. Adjective comparison and standardisation processes in American and British English from 1620 to the present Merja Kytö and Suzanne Romaine; 11. The Spectator, the politics of social networks, and language standardisation in eighteenth-century England Susan Fitzmaurice; 12. A branching path: low vowel lengthening and its friends in the emerging standard Roger Lass; Index.
"[It is] and important book [which] demonstrates for all linguists how an insightful observation by a young scholar can question basic assumptions and fondly held beliefs...Laura Wright (of Cambridge University) deserves particular thanks for having riased a major question and then pouring her considerable energy into the conferences and this volume that flows for them." Language in Society