A History of English Words

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Geoffrey Hughes
Wiley, Feb 21, 2000 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 430 pages
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This book traces the remarkable reconfigurations that English lexis has undergone in the past millennium. The vocabulary is studied as an indicator of social change, a symbol reflecting different social dynamics between speech communities, on models of dominance, cohabitation, colonialism and globalisation.

  • Comprehensive guide to the evolution of the English vocabulary.
  • Well known passages from literature are used to illustrate the variety of English words.
  • Accessible discussion of Latin, Greek, Germanic and Norman-French languages.
  • Contains original research into the make-up of the current lexical core of English.

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About the author (2000)

Geoffrey Hughes is Professor of the History of the English Language at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. A graduate of Oxford University, he has held academic and research posts at Cape Town, Harvard and Turin. His main interests are in historical semantics and sociolinguistics on which he has written over twenty papers and two books, Words in Time (Blackwell, 1988) and Swearing (Blackwell, 1991). He is a consultant for the Collins Dictionaries on South African English and has been editor of the journal English Studies in Africa.

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