The Earliest English: An Introduction to Old English Language

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Pearson/Longman, 2005 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 307 pages
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The Earliest English

provides a student-friendly introduction to Old English and the earliest periods of the history of the English Language as it evolved before 1215. Using non-technical language, the book covers basic terminology, the linguistic and cultural backgrounds to the emergence and development of OE, and the OE vocabulary that students studying this phase of the English language need to know.

In eight carefully structured units, the authors show how the vocabulary of Old English contains many items familiar to us today; how its characteristic poetic form is based on a beautiful and intricate simplicity; how its patterns of word building and inflectional structure are paralleled in several present day languages and how and why the English language and its literature continued to change so that by the mid-12th century the English language looks more like the 'English' that we are familiar with in the 21st century. Features of the book include:

* the provision of accessible guides to some important 'problem topics' of classical OE

* stimulating cross-linguistic comparisons, e.g. the pronoun system of OE as compared with the pronoun system of present day Dutch

* cleverly laid out translation exercises, with structural help in the form of selective glossaries

* careful division into eight units, designed for both classroom use and self-study

Written in a clear and accessible manner, The Earliest English provides a comprehensive introduction to the evolution of Old English language and literature, and will be an invaluable textbook for students of English Language and Linguistics.

Chris McCully is a freelance writer and academic. He has published widely in the fields of English historical linguistics, Old English and English phonology. Sharon Hilles is Professor of English at California State Polytechnic University where she teaches Linguistics, grammar, first and second language acquisition and the development of modern English.

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This is a fascinating and simple to understand introduction to Old English, one of the earliest forms of the English language. It introduces it from a standpoint of someone who may or may not have any background knowledge in historical linguistics or linguistics in general. It introduces pronunciation, syntax, and the cultural and historical importance that lead up to the development of the English language. It gives specific examples, practice exercises, and follow-up study questions to help you utilize the ideas it presents as well as (hopefully) retain the information.
For me personally, I love historical linguistics, and in particular, the history of the English language. I found this book to be particularly fascinating and helpful in understanding Old English.
 

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About the author (2005)

Chris McCully is a freelance writer and academic. He has published widely in the fields of English historical linguistics, Old English and English phonology.

Sharon Hilles is Professor of English at California State Polytechnic University where she teaches Linguistics, grammar, first and second language acquisition and the development of modern English.

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