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Synopsis

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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