The History of English: An Introduction provides a chronological analysis of the linguistic, social, and cultural development of the English language from before its establishment in Britain around the year 450 to the present. Each chapter represents a new stage in the development of the language from Old English through Middle English to Modern Global English, all illustrated with a rich and diverse selection of primary texts showing changes in language resulting from contact, conquest and domination, and the expansion of English around the world.
The History of English goes beyond the usual focus on English in the UK and the USA to include the wider global course of the language during and following the Early Modern English period. This perspective therefore also includes a historical review of English in its pidgin and creole varieties and as a native and/or second language in the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, and Australasia.
This new edition of The History of English has been thoroughly revised and updated throughout, and features:
- chapter introductions and conclusions to assist in orientation;
- over 90 textual examples demonstrating linguistic change accompanied, as necessary, by translations and/or glosses;
- study questions on the social, cultural, and linguistic background of the periods and topics, as well as recommendations for further reading and topics for further study;
- over 100 figures, tables and maps to support and illuminate the text;
- 18 pages of colour plates depicting exemplary texts, relevant artifacts, and examples of language usage, including Germanic runes, the opening page of Beowulf, the New England Primer, and the Treaty of Waitangi;
- a brand-new companion website hosting further articles on linguistic, historical, and cultural phenomena which go beyond the scope of the book, additional sample texts, exercises, and audio clips.
The History of English is essential reading for any student of the English language, and will be of relevance to any course addressing the origins of the English language.