Is English changing? To what degree is it changing? Is this change good or bad? In answering these questions, Is English Changing? provides a lively and concise introduction to language change, refuting commonly held misconceptions about language evolution as we understand it. Showing that English, like all living languages, has historically changed and continues to change, this book:

  • analyzes developments in the lexicon, the way words are spoken or written, and the way in which speakers and writers use words;
  • offers a basic overview of the major subfields of linguistics, including phonetics, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and sociolinguistics, all viewed through the prism of language change;
  • discusses change over time with examples from Old English, Middle English, and Modern English;
  • reinforces important concepts with examples from other languages, including Spanish, Japanese, and Czech;
  • clearly defines key terms and includes advice on rules, usage, and style, as well as ample annotated further reading and activities throughout.

Aimed at undergraduate students with little or no prior knowledge of linguistics, this book is essential reading for those studying this topic for the first time.

chapter 1|13 pages


chapter 2|25 pages

Speech sounds

chapter 3|21 pages

Word structure

chapter 4|27 pages

Sentence structure

chapter 5|20 pages

Word meaning

chapter 6|20 pages


chapter 7|20 pages

Society and culture

chapter 8|16 pages

Rules, usage, and style

chapter 9|6 pages