The History of English: An Introduction

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9780415566407: The History of English: An Introduction
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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.

Designed to be user-friendly, The History of English contains:

  • chapter introductions and conclusions to assist study
  • over 80 textual examples demonstrating linguistic change, accompanied by translations and/or glosses where appropriate
  • study questions on the social, cultural and linguistic background of the chapter topics
  • further reading from key texts to extend or deepen the focus
  • nearly 100 supporting figures, tables, and maps to illuminate the text
  • 16-pages of colour plates depicting exemplary texts, relevant artefacts, and examples of language usage, including Germanic runes, the opening page of Beowulf, the New England Primer, and the Treaty of Waitangi.

The companion website at www.routledge.com/cw/gramley supports the textbook and features:

  • an extended view of major aspects of language development as well as synopses of material dealt with in a range of chapters in the book
  • further sample texts, including examples from Chaucer, numerous Early Modern English texts from a wide variety of fields, and twenty-first-century novels
  • additional exercises to help users expand their insights and apply background knowledge
  • an interactive timeline of important historical events and developments with linked encyclopaedic entries
  • audio clips providing examples of a wide range of accents

The History of English is essential reading for any student of the English language.

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About the Author:

Stephan Gramley is Studiendirektor at Bielefeld University, Germany, in the Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies.

Review:

"This book is not only an invaluable textbook for the student of the history of English, but also a source of inspiring questions prone to motivate individuals to pursue their own research in the field." LINGUIST

"An essential introduction for students and an invaluable resource for teachers of this subject. It is written in an accessible style, includes many detailed examples and study questions and is well supported by extensive resources on its website." - Sebastian Rasinger, Anglia Ruskin University, UK

"An extremely useful resource ... It is up-to-date, both in content and the technology it employs ... the narrative is clear and straightforward, difficult concepts are suitably elucidated and glossed, the selection of illustrative texts is excellent and the accompanying apparatus works very well." - Lister Matheson, Michigan State University, USA

"An indispensable resource for undergraduate students of the history of English." - Peter K.W. Tan, National University of Singapore, Singapore

"The history of English continues to be a fascinating area of study within Linguistics, especially Historical linguistics and Sociolinguistics. The field has undergone further renewal in the age of globalisation. Here is a textbook that does full justice to the early history of what were a group of Germanic dialects crossing over into what would become England. The language that gelled into English was to undergo enormous domestic changes over the centuries and to undertake many subsequent crossings. Stephan Gramley covers this complex history with an admirable blend of breadth and depth, striking a balance between structural aspects of language and sociolinguistic developments. This is an accessible student-friendly text which I wholeheartedly recommend." Rajend Mesthrie, University of Cape Town, South Africa 

"So much more than a textbook par excellence for students enrolled in university courses on the history of English, this multi-layered history of one of the world’s richest and most widely spoken languages "does not treat English as a monolithic entity, but the product of use by diverse speakers through the ages, in differing levels of society, and over a wide geographic spread".

In other words, the focus isn’t just on the UK and US― there are also substantial sections on pidgin and creole varieties, as well as on English as a native and/or second language in the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Australasia.

As we move from 450 to the present, from Beowulf to Bollywood, the changes wrought on English by migration and social, political and cultural innovation and upheaval are explained in clear, concise language.

There are copious examples from real texts, as well as maps, diagrams, colour plates and even free access to a supporting website featuring an interactive time line and audio clips. How did we get from "A Frere ther was, a wantown and a merye, a limitour, a ful solempne man" (Canterbury Tales, 1385) to "I think ibo gurls is sexy, kedu ka odi? All my fine ibo thoroughbreds" (Nigerian blog Igbo Girls Like Money a Lot, 2006)? Work your way through this brilliant history and you’ll not only know the answer ― you’ll have enriched your understanding of, and ability to use, the English language beyond measure." The West Australian.

'[The History of English will]... have enriched your understanding of, and ability to use, the English Language beyond measure.' - The West Australian

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