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Book description

The history and development of English, from the earliest known writings to its status today as a dominant world language, is a subject of major importance to linguists and historians. In this book, a team of international experts cover the entire recorded history of the English language, outlining its development over fifteen centuries. With an emphasis on more recent periods, every key stage in the history of the language is covered, with full accounts of standardisation, names, the distribution of English in Britain and North America, and its global spread. New historical surveys of the crucial aspects of the language are presented, and historical changes that have affected English are treated as a continuing process, helping to explain the shape of the language today. This complete and up-to-date history of English will be indispensable to all advanced students, scholars and teachers in this prominent field.


'… will keep you occupied for days.'

Source: Writer's Forum

'This book is peerless, presenting up-to-date scholarship written by leaders in the field'.

Source: Journal of English Linguistics

'… firmly grounded in the scholarship and methodology of the magisterial six-volume Cambridge History of the English Language … answer[s] the need for a history of English that is up-to-date, culturally sensitive, detailed and rigorous … convey[s] some of the lustre, excitement and agony of the past.'

Source: New Statesman

'The layout, style and range of this collection will make it an invaluable point of reference as well as an introduction.'

Source: Contemporary Review

‘The contributors are leading figures in their field and they all write as leading figures should. Quite a few histories of English are available, but this really is the best pound-for-pound contender out there.’

Source: The Times Higher Education Supplement

'A History of the English Language treats the subject in a series of nine chapter-length essays by outstanding scholars in the field. … Among the book’s many strengths is the sustained effort of its authors to qualify certain pieties about the English language (such as Middle English’s status as the 'dialectal phase' of English) while acknowledging the importance of such generalizations to scholars. … Another strength of the text is its organizational design, which is intended to engage students in a focused study of the diachronic changes of English’s internal features. … this book could be used in a wide range of college and graduate-level courses.'

Source: American Speech

'… strikingly useful for the scholar … fascinating to read.'

Source: Cercles

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