The English Language: A Historical Introduction

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Cambridge University Press, May 4, 2000 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 299 pages
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The English Language: A Historical Introduction covers the history of the English language from its prehistoric Indo-European origins to the present day. Assuming no previous knowledge of the subject, Charles Barber describes the nature of language and language change, and presents a history of the English language at different periods, dealing with key topics such as grammar, pronunciation and semantics. Where necessary, he introduces and explains the main theoretical and technical concepts of historical linguistics. There are also chapters on English in the scientific age, English as a world language and the future of the language. Charles Barber uses dozens of familiar texts, including the English of King Alfred, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Addison, to illustrate the state of the English language through time in a range of contexts. This is a fascinating book for anyone with an interest in language.
 

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User Review  - timspalding - LibraryThing

The "pitch" of this book doesn't interest me enough to plough through all the way. But the warm up—the chapters on linguistics, on Indo-European languages, on the Germanic languages and on the ... Read full review

Contents

What is language?
1
The flux of language
32
The IndoEuropean languages
58
The Germanic languages
81
Old English
100
Norsemen and Normans
127
Middle English
151
Early Modern English
175
English in the scientific age
199
English as a world language
234
English today and tomorrow
262
Notes and suggestions for further reading
279
Bibliography
283
Index
292
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About the author (2000)

Barber is the Michael P. Grace Assistant Professor of Art History in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design at the University of Notre Dame.

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