A History of the English Language / Edition 5

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Overview

Comprehensive and balanced, this classic exploration of the history of the English language combines internal linguistic history and external cultural history-from the Middle Ages to the present. This market-leading text encourages readers to develop both an understanding of present-day English and an enlightened attitude toward questions affecting the language today.

Features in the New Edition include:

  • A thoroughly revised and updated Chapter 1, English Present and Future, reflecting the latest trends and statistics of the last ten years
  • A new section in Chapter 10, Gender Issues and Linguistic Change, providing a balanced and current perspective on an important social topic
  • Thorough revision of Chapter 11, The English Language in America, with updated material on African American Vernacular English
The traditional strengths of the text remain, including:
  • An emphasis on the political, social, and cultural forces that affect language
  • The use of traditional phonetic notation to help pronunciation
  • A map of American dialects and examples of twentieth-century vocabulary demonstrating differences in American English and comparisons of current English to earlier versions
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130151667
  • Publisher: Longman
  • Publication date: 11/28/2001
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Before the present author ever became associated with Albert C. Baugh's A History of the English Language, several generations of teachers and students had appreciated its enduring qualities. Not least of these, and often remarked upon, was the full attention paid to the historical and cultural setting of the development of the language. This original emphasis has made it possible for subsequent editions to include discussions of current issues and varieties of English in ways that could not have been specifically foreseen in 1935. The fifth edition continues this updating by expanding the sections on African American Varnacular English and Hispanic American English, adding a section on Gender Issues and Linguistic Change, and incorporating small changes throughout. Once again global events have affected global English and necessitated revisions, especially in the first and last chapters. Baugh's original text was supported by footnotes and bibliographies that not only acknowledged the sources of his narrative but also pointed directions for further study and research. In each successive edition new references have been added. To avoid documentary growth, sprawl, and incoherence by simple accretion, the present edition eliminates a number of references that have clearly been susperseded. At the same time it keeps many that might not usually be consulted by students in order to give a sense of the foundations and progress of the study of the subject.

In the first edition Baugh stated his aim as follows:

The present book, intended primarily for college students, aims to present the historical development of English in such a way as to preserve a proper balance between what may be called internal history— sounds and inflections—and external history—the political, social, and intellectual forces that have determined the course of that development at different periods. The writer is convinced that the soundest basis for an understanding of present-day English and for an enlightened attitude towards questions affecting the language today is a knowledge of the path which it has pursued in becoming what it is. For this reason equal attention has been paid to its earlier and its later stages.

As in previous editions, the original plan and purpose have not been altered.

The various developments of linguistic inquiry and theory during the half century after the History's original publication have made parts of its, exposition seem to some readers overly traditional. However, a history presented through the lens of a single theory is narrow when the theory is current, and dated when the theory is superseded. Numerous other histories of English have made intelligent use of a particular theory of phonemics, or of a specific version of syntactic deep and surface structure, or of variable rules, or of other ideas that have come and gone. There is nothing hostile to an overall linguistic theory or to new discoveries in Baugh's original work, but its format allows the easy adjustment of separable parts.

It is a pity that a new preface by convention loses the expression of thanks to colleagues whose suggestions made the previous edition a better book. The fifth edition has especially benefited from astute comments by Traugott Lawler and William Kretzschrnar. The author as ever is sustained by the cartoonist perspective of Carole Cable, who he trusts will find nothing in the present effort to serve as grist for her gentle satiric mill.

T.C.

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Table of Contents

1. English Present and Future.

2. The Indo-European Family of Languages.

3. Old English.

4. Foreign Influences on Old English.

5. The Norman Conquest and the Subjection of English, 1066-1200.

6. The Re-Establishment of English, 1200-1500.

7. Middle English.

8. The Renaissance, 1500-1650.

9. The Appeal to Authority, 1650-1800.

10. The Nineteenth Century and After.

11. The English Language in America.

Appendix A: Specimens of the Middle English Dialects.

Appendix B: English Spelling.

Index.

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Preface

Before the present author ever became associated with Albert C. Baugh's A History of the English Language, several generations of teachers and students had appreciated its enduring qualities. Not least of these, and often remarked upon, was the full attention paid to the historical and cultural setting of the development of the language. This original emphasis has made it possible for subsequent editions to include discussions of current issues and varieties of English in ways that could not have been specifically foreseen in 1935. The fifth edition continues this updating by expanding the sections on African American Varnacular English and Hispanic American English, adding a section on Gender Issues and Linguistic Change, and incorporating small changes throughout. Once again global events have affected global English and necessitated revisions, especially in the first and last chapters. Baugh's original text was supported by footnotes and bibliographies that not only acknowledged the sources of his narrative but also pointed directions for further study and research. In each successive edition new references have been added. To avoid documentary growth, sprawl, and incoherence by simple accretion, the present edition eliminates a number of references that have clearly been susperseded. At the same time it keeps many that might not usually be consulted by students in order to give a sense of the foundations and progress of the study of the subject.

In the first edition Baugh stated his aim as follows:

The present book, intended primarily for college students, aims to present the historical development of English in such a way as to preserve a proper balance between what may be called internal history— sounds and inflections—and external history—the political, social, and intellectual forces that have determined the course of that development at different periods. The writer is convinced that the soundest basis for an understanding of present-day English and for an enlightened attitude towards questions affecting the language today is a knowledge of the path which it has pursued in becoming what it is. For this reason equal attention has been paid to its earlier and its later stages.

As in previous editions, the original plan and purpose have not been altered.

The various developments of linguistic inquiry and theory during the half century after the History's original publication have made parts of its, exposition seem to some readers overly traditional. However, a history presented through the lens of a single theory is narrow when the theory is current, and dated when the theory is superseded. Numerous other histories of English have made intelligent use of a particular theory of phonemics, or of a specific version of syntactic deep and surface structure, or of variable rules, or of other ideas that have come and gone. There is nothing hostile to an overall linguistic theory or to new discoveries in Baugh's original work, but its format allows the easy adjustment of separable parts.

It is a pity that a new preface by convention loses the expression of thanks to colleagues whose suggestions made the previous edition a better book. The fifth edition has especially benefited from astute comments by Traugott Lawler and William Kretzschrnar. The author as ever is sustained by the cartoonist perspective of Carole Cable, who he trusts will find nothing in the present effort to serve as grist for her gentle satiric mill.

T.C.

Read More Show Less

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