English in Its Social Contexts: Essays in Historical Sociolinguistics / Edition 1

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These essays address each of the traditional periods of English, acknowledging the effect of external social context on determining the direction of changes within the language's syntax, phonology, and lexicon.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This collection of essays provides a different perspective on the history of English by correlating language and society and focusing on the socio-cultural framework of the diachronic development of the language. It is a valuable set of readings for the student of diachronic linguistics."--Edgar C. Pulome, University of Texas

"This lively set of papers provides a valuable counterbalance to the traditional emphasis on the written standard in works on the history of English....It offers a varied feast of methodological approaches and theoretical attitudes that mirrors the feast of language varieties and attitudes toward them that are its subject...It is richly informative and thoroughly enjoyable."--Elizabeth C. Traugott, Stanford University

"Traditional histories of English have presented the language as a system that lives in austere secession from social reality, rearranging itself in response to purely internal pressures. English in its Social Contexts puts the language back in the mouths of its speakers, reminding us that the history of the language is also the social history of the English-speaking world, shaped against a continuing background of diversity."--Geoffrey Nunberg, Stanford University

"The Williams, Carver, and Kachru chapters are the most useful for my undergraduates."--Daniel O. Mosser, VPI & SU

"The selection of articles is an excellent set of case studies on historical sociolinguistics and historical standardization processes of English."--Otto Santa Ana A., University of New Mexico

"This volume brings a breadth of approach rarely encountered in the formal study of language to bear on diverse and absorbing topics in the history of English. It will undoubtedly be welcomed by those interested in language and culture."--Language

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195065008
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/1992
  • Series: Oxford Studies in Sociolinguistics Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 6.13 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Table of Contents

The Phonemes of Present-Day English
Contrastive Pairs
Introduction: Sociolinguistics, Language Change, and the History of English, Charles T. Scott and Tim William Machan
1. The Social and Political Contexts of Language Change in Anglo-Saxon England, Thomas Toon
2. The Use of English: Language Contact, Dialect Variation and Written Standardization during the Middle English Period, Jeremy J. Smith
3. "O! when degree is shak'd": Sixteenth-Century Anticipation of Some Modern Attitudes towards Usage, Joseph M. Williams
4. Style and Standardization in England: 1700-1900, Edward Finegan
5. The Mayflower to the Model-T: The Development of American English, Craig M. Carver
6. Sociolinguistic Attitudes and Issues in Contemporary Britain, John Algeo
7. A Polyphony of Voices: The Dialectics of Linguistic Unity and Diversity in the Twentieth-Century United States, Judith Rodby
8. Social Contexts in the History of Australian English, John Gunn
9. The Second Diaspora of English, Braj Kachru
Afterword: English: from Village to Global Village, Suzanne Romaine

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