A History of the English Language

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.

• Gives a complete history of the language, from the earliest writings to today • Covers the most up-to-date research, such as major new surveys of the crucial aspects of the language (sounds, word-structure, grammar and vocabulary) • Focusses on the most important issues rather than attempting to provide a chronological account


1. Overview David Denison and Richard Hogg; 2. Phonology and morphology Roger Lass; 3. Syntax Olga Fischer and Wim van der Wurff; 4. Vocabulary Dieter Kastovsky; 5. Standardization Terttu Nevalainen and Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade; 6. Names Richard Coates; 7. English in Britain Richard Hogg; 8. English in North America Edward Finegan; 9. English worldwide David Crystal.


\'\'… will keep you occupied for days.\' Writer\'s Forum

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

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