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A Companion to the History of the English Language / Edition 1

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A Companion to the History of the English Language addresses the linguistic, cultural, social, and literary approaches to language study. The first text to offer a complete survey of the field, this volume provides the most up-to-date insights of leading international scholars.

  • An accessible reference to the history of the English language
  • Comprises more than sixty essays written by leading international scholars
  • Aids literature students in incorporating language study into their work
  • Includes an historical survey of the English language, from its Germanic and Indo- European beginnings to modern British and American English
  • Enriched with maps, diagrams, and illustrations from historical publications
  • Introduces the latest scholarship in the field
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In conclusion, this book succeeds in doing what it intended, to provide linguistic grounding for readers primarily interested in the literature and culture of English past and present. It deserves a place in libraries and classrooms, to be read cover to cover or dipped into for specific topics . . . Because it is readable and has good chapter bibliographies and a detailed index, it might also serve as a reference for students researching a topic within the history of English.” (Linguist, 20 January 2013)

"Readers will find clear guides to basic information.... Editorial introductions to the various sections clarify and summarise the material. Each chapter ends with extensive lists of references and further reading. A glossary of linguistic terms, reflecting 'the terms as used by the authors,' is included. As with all the Blackwell Companions, the presentation of this substantial volume is of the highest standard." (Reference Reviews, November 2009)

"Anyone with even a passing interest in the history of the language, whether an old-fashioned description of Middle English morphology or an au courant discussion of global Englishes, will be glad to have [this] Companion on the shelf." (Times Literary Supplement, May 2009)

Momma (New York Univ.) and Matto (Adelphi Univ.) draw on an international cast of scholars to present 59 essays on the history of the English language. Part of the "Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture" series, this substantial volume is organized in nine sections and certainly covers the field. The first three sections provide essential linguistic concepts and a survey of the history of words, sounds, and grammar. Sections 4-6 deal with the Indo-European and Germanic roots of English, the history of English in England and the US, and English in British colonies and the postcolonial world. The last three sections cover literary language (including Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Toni Morrison), language variation and language teaching, and approaches to language study such as stylistics and cognitive linguistics. The editors provide brief contextual commentary for each section, and each essay has its own bibliography to facilitate further reading. All the contributions are readable and concise. This comprehensive picture of English and its history is a must for scholars. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty. — E. L. Battistella, Southern Oregon University (Choice, February, 2009)

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Haruko Momma is Associate Professor of English at New York University. She is the author of The Composition of Old English Poetry (1997) and From Philology to English Studies: Language and Culture in the Nineteenth Century (2009).

Michael Matto is Assistant Professor of English and Director of Writing Programs at Adelphi University. He has published articles on Old English language, literature, and culture, and is currently editing (with Greg Delanty) a collection of new literary translations of Old English poems (2009).

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Table of Contents

List of figures

Note on phonetic symbols and orthography

A timeline for HEL

Pt. I Introduction

1 History, English, Language: Studying HEL Today

2 History of the History of the English Language: How Has the Subject Been Studied?

3 Essential Linguistics

Pt. II Linguistic Survey

4 Phonology: Segmental Histories

5 History of English Morphology

6 History of English Syntax

7 A History of the English Lexicon

8 History of English Prosody

Pt. III English Semantics and Lexicography

9 Dictionaries Today: What Can We Do With Them?

10 English Onomasiological Dictionaries and Thesauri

11 Johnson, Webster, and the Oxford English Dictionary

Pt. IV Pre-history of English

12 English as an Indo-European Language

13 English as a Germanic Language

Pt. V English in History: England and America

Sect. 1 Old English in History (c.a. 450-1066)

14 Early Old English (up to 899)

15 Late Old English (899-1066)

16 Topics in Old English Dialects

Sect. 2 Middle English in History (1066-1485)

17 Early Middle English (1066-ca. 1350)

18 Late Middle English (ca. 1350-1485)

19 Varieties of Middle English

Sect. 3 Early Modern English in History (1485-1660)

20 Early Modern English (1485-1660)

21 Varieties of Early Modern English

Sect. 4 Modern British English in History (1660-present)

22 British English in the Long Eighteenth Century (1660-1830)

23 British English Since 1830

24 The Rise of Received Pronunciation

Sect. 5 American English in History

25 American English to 1865

26 American English Since 1865

27 American English Dialects

Sect. 6 Topics in History

28 Early Modern English Print Culture

29 Issues of Gender in ModernEnglish

50 Class, Ethnicity, and the Formation of "Standard English"

51 The Transplantation of American English in Philippine Soil

32 English, Latin, and the Teaching of Rhetoric

33 English in Mass Communications: News Discourse and the Language of Journalism

Pt. VI English in History: English Outside England and the United States

Sect. 1 British Isles and Ireland

35 English in Scotlund

36 English in Ireland

Sect. 2 English in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand

37 English in Canada

38 Australian and New Zealand English

Sect. 3 Colonial and Post-Colonial English

39 South Asian English

40 English in the Caribbean

41 English in Africa

Pt. VII Literary Languages

42 The Anglo-Saxon Poetic Tradition

43 "In swich englissh as he kan": Chaucer's Literary Language

44 Shakespeare's Literary Language

45 Jane Austen's Literary English

46 Joyce's English

47 Faulkner's Language

48 Twixt the Twain: East-West in Rushdie's Zubaan-Tongue

49 Toni Morrison: The Stmggle for the Word

Pt. VIII Issues in Present-Day English

50 Migration and Motivation in the Development of African American Vernacular English

51 Latino Varieties of English

52 Teaching English to Native Speakers: The Subject Matter of Composition (1970-2005)

53 Earning as well as Learning a Language: English and the Post-colonial Teacher

54 Creoles and Pidgins

55 World Englishes in World Contexts

Pt. IX Further Approaches to Language Study

56 Style and Stylistics

57 Corpus-Based Linguistic Approaches to the History of English

58 Sociolinguistics

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