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The Cambridge History of the English Language
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  • Cited by 7
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    This book has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Rodríguez-Álvarez, Alicia 2017. An approach to the historical sketches of the English language in eighteenth-century grammars of English. Language & History, Vol. 60, Issue. 2, p. 79.

    Schreier, Daniel 2016. Super-leveling, fraying-out, internal restructuring: A century of present be concord in Tristan da Cunha English. Language Variation and Change, Vol. 28, Issue. 02, p. 203.

    Hodson, Jane 2016. Linguistics and Literary History. Vol. 25, Issue. , p. 151.

    Rathore-Nigsch, Claudia and Schreier, Daniel 2016. ‘Our heart is still in Africa’: Twice migration and its sociolinguistic consequences. Language in Society, Vol. 45, Issue. 02, p. 163.

    EHRET, KATHARINA WOLK, CHRISTOPH and SZMRECSANYI, BENEDIKT 2014. Quirky quadratures: on rhythm and weight as constraints on genitive variation in an unconventional data set. English Language and Linguistics, Vol. 18, Issue. 02, p. 263.

    Matsumoto, David Hwang, Hyisung C. and Frank, Mark G. 2014. Emotions expressed in speeches by leaders of ideologically motivated groups predict aggression. Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression, Vol. 6, Issue. 1, p. 1.

    Matsumoto, David Hwang, Hyisung C. and Frank, Mark G. 2013. Emotional Language and Political Aggression. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, Vol. 32, Issue. 4, p. 452.

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Book description

This volume deals with the history of the English language from 1776 to 1997. An extensive introduction details the changing socio-historical setting in which English has developed in response to a continuing background of diversity as it was transplanted to North America and beyond. Separate chapters on phonology, syntax, and vocabulary chronicle the linguistic features of the language during this period, taking as the basis for discussion the common core inherited from the sixteenth century and shared by what are now the two principal varieties, American and British English. In addition, there are chapters on English as a literary language, English grammar and usage, and onomastics. A separate volume on North American English is in preparation.


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    pp 01-56
  • View abstract
    This introduction presents an overview of concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book discusses regional forms of English which developed after 1776. One can identify a common core to British and American features of a language now more correctly called International English. The chapter addresses the common core of British and American English can be justified on several grounds, historical, social and linguistic. The split between the two major varieties is somewhat neater when looked at from a lexical and grammatical standpoint. Grammatical differences, in particular, tend to be for the most part minor, at least as far as the inner circle is concerned. If no distinctive vocabulary items are used, it is quite often not possible to tell in certain text types (apart from spelling) what nationality the author is.
    pp 57-91
  • View abstract
    Vocabulary is central to both the system and the use of language. Words are what are pronounced and written and organised into sentences and other grammatical combinations, being the fundamental units of meaning. This chapter explains six major etymological or historically derivational classes: creations, shifts, shortenings, composites, blends, and loanwords or borrowings. Shifting may be of shape, grammar, semantics, or pragmatics. English has great freedom of shifting forms from one part of speech to another. Without relying on specific percentages, it seems clear that overwhelmingly the major source for new words in English is their composition from morphemes already present in the language, by compounding and affixation. Change in vocabulary involves fluctuations in the faddishness, voguishness, popularity, or centrality of words. The stylishness of words is difficult to attest objectively, but some words are clearly a mirror of the times in which they are used.
  • 3 - SYNTAX
    pp 92-329
  • View abstract
    This chapter talks about the syntactic change in late Modern English. It first focuses on the noun phrase (NP), with a discussion of the obligatory head of an NP, and then in roughly linear sequence the other, mainly optional elements such as determiners, adjectives, attributive nouns, and postmodifiers. It then discusses tense, perfect, progressive, subjunctive, modal verbs, voice, the expression of time, operators, and finally a reconsideration of structural change in the verbal group. Next, the chapter considers the structure of the clause, looking at word order and other issues in declaratives, negatives, interrogatives, imperatives, and exclamatives. Finally, it focuses on composite sentences, a term which covers both compound sentences and complex ones. After a brief look at co-ordinate clauses, subordinate clauses are discussed under the traditional headings of finite nominal, nonfinite nominal, relative, and adverbial.
    pp 330-372
  • View abstract
    This chapter discusses English names since 1776. A very great deal of the work in English onomastics currently being done is by American scholars, especially in relation to American place-naming and in relation to the analysis of names applied to new or hitherto unstudied categories of nameables. Studying the names coined since 1776 will be a contribution to knowledge of lexical creativity during this period. Specifically, it will be about the nature of creativity in that special name-lexicon. Place-names are recorded aplenty in the documents just mentioned. There is little of interest to say about the post-1776 treatment of established names, except that by this time they regularly appear in something like their present orthographic form. A brief history of naming-practices prior to 1776 is in order, because names were introduced into the English stock between 1485 and 1776 which rose to popularity only in the later period.
    pp 373-535
  • View abstract
    Until the mid-eighteenth century, the pronunciation of English had generally been regarded as of secondary importance to matters of grammar and style. It was Thomas Sheridan who was to ask that correct pronunciation be put onto the intellectual agenda, by arguing that it was the variability of pronunciation, more than any other linguistic feature, which signalled the decline of English as a language. Interpretation of the older literature is often made difficult by writers discussing sounds in terms of orthography, or the used by philologists or modifications of IPA. In 1874, Ellis noted the absence of conclusive evidence on the pronunciation of unaccented syllables of English. An additional source of information about variant forms of unaccented vowels is the correspondence between Sweet, Storm and Murray. Two aspects of unaccented vowel phonology have been chosen for exemplification: word-initial pre-tonic vowels and word-final post-tonic vowels.
    pp 536-588
  • View abstract
    This chapter talks about language in general and English in particular, of competition between prescriptive and descriptive ideals of grammar and lexicography in the market-place and of a shifting role for the place of speech and writing in codifying the language. It focuses on Britain. From its seventeenth- and eighteenth-century foundations, the study of English grammar has had lobbyists who regarded usage as the highest or only determinant of correctness and others who subordinated it to other considerations such as Latin, logic, etymologic, analogic, and personal preference, among them. The chapter focuses on the century between 1830 and 1930, with scope to examine the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) from inspiration to publication. It examines the origins of the OED. It highlights two significant nineteenth-century linguistic themes. The first is the link between language usage and morality. The second is the relationship between social or national identity on the one hand and linguistic practice on the other.
    pp 589-692
  • View abstract
    Taking samples from three non-poetic genres such as fiction, essays, letters, Biber & Finegan find that all genres show a marked shift from literate to oral styles. In a history of literary style, some features may have a special significance because of their role as style-markers or the part they play in stylisation. This chapter discusses the story of the two revolutions in terms of the style-markers and changing stylistic ideals which underlie the drift to orality quantified by Biber & Fkiegan. The discussion covers changes in language-variety, versification, syntax and metaphor, in each case showing how Romantics and Modernists in turn distanced themselves from the stylistic practices of their predecessors. The chapter also offers an account of some special techniques that have developed in the literature of our period from the initial Romantic enterprise of representing a speaking voice in a printed text.


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