By Richard Hogg, David Denison

The heritage and improvement of English, from the earliest identified writings to its prestige this present day as a dominant global language, is a topic of significant value to linguists and historians. during this e-book, a crew of overseas specialists conceal the complete recorded background of the English language, outlining its improvement over fifteen centuries. With an emphasis on newer sessions, each key degree within the historical past of the language is roofed, with complete money owed of standardisation, names, the distribution of English in Britain and North the USA, and its worldwide unfold. New historic surveys of the the most important facets of the language are provided, and old alterations that experience affected English are taken care of as a continuous technique, supporting to give an explanation for the form of the language at the present time. this whole and updated historical past of English may be integral to all complicated scholars, students and lecturers during this favourite box.

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Extra resources for A History of the English Language (2006)

Sample text

The new country was already substantial in population and in area, but still around a tenth of its later extension. The nineteenth century saw a remarkable westward movement of the frontier of the United States, the white European-American expansion rolling over and sometimes almost wiping out indigenous tribes (‘[Red] Indians’, as they were collectively known in English, later called Native Americans, or in Canada, First Peoples). There were modest lexical gains to American English, for example canyon from Spanish, pemmican from Cree.

And these two areas of influence are linked by the fact that modern English derivational morphology seems to operate in two strata, roughly Germanic and Romance, which have separate distributions, different effects on the stressing of the resultant word, and which, when combined, typically put the Germanic affix closer to the stem. 4 Later history: internal migration, emigration, immigration again The previous section dealt with three major invasions of the British Isles. For nearly a millennium now, England has had no hostile foreign armies marching over it, a remarkable record by European standards (even Switzerland’s is shorter).

The relationship between writing and speech is not always a direct one. Here we look at the form in which texts were transmitted and the various media used. A writing system used by Germanic tribes from maybe the second century AD was the runic futhork, a system, originally of twenty-four letters, derived from contact with Italic peoples using an Etruscan alphabet. (This, like almost all such Mediterranean writing systems, was ultimately derived from a Semitic alphabet. ) Runes were straight-sided symbols suitable for carving on wood or stone.

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