A history of American English
A History of American English provides for the first time a chronological, narrative account of the development of American English. Although it has attracted considerable attention in terms of the social and geographical distribution of the language, the historical implications and influences of American English have been surprisingly neglected. In this impressive and much-needed volume J.L. Dillard tracks the development of American English from its earliest origins through to the present day.
This comprehensive survey analyses the way in which American English has developed in a variety of forms, such as "standard", Black and pidgin, and sets this process firmly within its social contexts. It examines the mixing of British dialect groups in the early period; the coastal distribution of most of the English-speaking colonists until after the Revolutionary War; the close relationships with the West Indies; American imperialism; and the general importance of maritime contacts. The significance of the Negro, Dutch, Hawaiian, Spanish, French, Italian and German influences on the development of the language are considered.
Mobility has always been a primary characteristic of the American population, and the history of English in the United States has always reflected that mobility. Urbanization, beginning to be an important factor at the end of the nineteenth century, has been joined by suburbanization of the more affluent in the mid-to-late twentieth century, leaving the inner city largely to minority users of highly nonstandard varieties. The author assesses these contributory factors, providing an authoritative, yet accessible account of the development of American English.
A History of American English will prove ideal for students and teachers of the history of English, historical linguistics, language acquisition, sociolinguistics, language contact, general linguistics as well as the general reader with an interest in language or American history.
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On the background of American English
Early diversity levelling and rediversification
The development of Black English
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