The English language

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 1986 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 194 pages
2 Reviews
The English language, in its earliest period, was spoken by a few thousand people, most of whom were illiterate. Today, more than 300 million people speak and write English as their first language. In this book, Robert Burchfield takes us on a brief tour of our ever-changing language as he surveys its history and development and assesses its current state. An eloquent guide, Burchfield examines the complexities of English, as well as its amazing resilience and flexibility. From vocabulary, syntax, and pronunciation, to an analysis of the role of literature and the English Bible in shaping the language, Burchfield infuses all his discussions with his fascination with the mystery of language and his confidence that English "can be used at the present time as in the past, with majesty and power, free of all fault."

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Pepys - LibraryThing

I knew Robert Burchfield through his New Fowler's Modern English Usage which I'm devotedly reading from cover to cover day after day. But I was rather deceived by this other book. I thought I would ... Read full review

Review: The English Language

User Review  - Af - Goodreads

Certainly not a comprehensive overview, but interesting tit-bits here and there. The writing is sometimes pretty opaque. Read full review

Contents

From Runes to Printing
7
to 1776
34
Literature Ritualistic Works and Language
58
Copyright

7 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1986)


About the Author:
Robert Burchfield is Chief Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. He is also the author of The Spoken Word: A BBC Guide and editor of William Cobbett's A Grammar of the English Language.

Bibliographic information