The Development of Standard English, 1300-1800: Theories, Descriptions, Conflicts

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This book traces the development of Standard English, revealing a complex and intriguing history that challenges the usual textbook accounts. Leading scholars offer a wide-ranging analysis, from theoretical discussions of the origin of dialects, to detailed descriptions of the history of individual Standard English features. Ranging from Middle English to the Modern English period, the volume concludes that Standard English had no one single ancestor dialect, but is the cumulative result of generations of authoritative writing from many text types.

Laura Wright, Jim Milroy, Richard J. Watts, Jonathan Hope, Raymond Hickey, Gabriella Mazzon, Derek Keene, Matti Rissanen, Irma Taavitsainen, Anneli Meurman-Solin, Merja Kyto, Suzanne Romaine, Susan Fitzmaurice, Roger Lass

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[It is] and important book [which] demonstrates for all linguists how an insightful observation by a young scholar can question basic assumptions and fondly held beliefs...Laura Wright (of Cambridge University) deserves particular thanks for having riased a major question and then pouring her considerable energy into the conferences and this volume that flows for them." Language in Society
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521029698
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2006
  • Series: Studies in English Language Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Table of Contents

List of contributors
Introduction 1
1 Historical description and the ideology of the standard language 11
2 Mythical strands in the ideology of prescriptivism 29
3 Rats, bats, sparrows and dogs: biology, linguistics and the nature of Standard English 49
4 Salience, stigma and standard 57
5 The ideology of the standard and the development of Extraterritorial Englishes 73
6 Metropolitan values: migration, mobility and cultural norms, London 1100-1700 93
7 Standardisation and the language of early statutes 117
8 Scientific language and spelling standardisation 1375-1550 131
9 Change from above or below? Mapping the loci of linguistic change in the history of Scottish English 155
10 Adjective comparison and standardisation processes in American and British English from 1620 to the present 171
11 The Spectator, the politics of social networks, and language standardisation in eighteenth-century England 195
12 A branching path: low vowel lengthening and its friends in the emerging standard 219
Index 230
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