John Algeo is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Georgia. He is past president of the American Dialect Society, the Dictionary Society of North America, and the American Name Society. He was an associate editor of the OXFORD COMPANION TO THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE and editor of Volume 6 of the CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE: ENGLISH IN NORTH AMERICA. He was a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar and a Guggenheim Fellow at University College London and is author of the 2006 Cambridge book BRITISH OR AMERICAN ENGLISH? A HANDBOOK OF WORD AND GRAMMAR PATTERNS.
Carmen Acevedo Butcher is Professor of English and Scholar-in-Residence at Shorter University. A Carnegie Foundation Professor of the Year for Georgia, she also received a President's Award for Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship. She taught graduate- and undergraduate-level linguistics as a Fulbright Senior Lecturer at Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea, and was a Fulbright Scholar at University College London. She also studied at Ruprecht-Karls Universität Heidelberg as a Rotary International Graduate Scholar. She has served as a commentator for Georgia Public Broadcasting and authored several books on medieval literature, Christian mystics, and linguistics. Her translation of THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING received the 46th annual Georgia Author of the Year award, the oldest literary award in the Southeastern United States.
PREFACE. 1. LANGUAGE AND THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE: AN INTRODUCTION. A Definition of Language. Language as System. Grammatical Signals. Language as Signs. Language as Vocal. Writing and Speech. Gestures and Speech. Language as Conventional. Language Change. The Notion of Linguistic Corruption. Language Variation. Correctness and Acceptability. Language as Human. Theories of the Origin of Language. Innate Language Ability. Do Birds and Beasts Really Talk? Language as Communication. Other Characteristics of Language. Why Study the History of English? For Further Reading. 2. THE SOUNDS OF CURRENT ENGLISH. The Organs of Speech. Consonants of Current English. Vowels of Current English. Vowels before [r]. Stress. Unstressed Vowels. Kinds of Sound Change. Assimilation: Sounds Become More Alike. Dissimilation: Sounds Become Less Alike. Elision: Sounds Are Omitted. Intrusion: Sounds Are Added. Metathesis: Sounds Are Reordered. Causes of Sound Change. The Phoneme. Differing Transcriptions. For Further Reading. 3. LETTERS AND SOUNDS: A BRIEF HISTORY OF WRITING. Ideographic and Syllabic Writing. From Semitic Writing to the Greek Alphabet. The Greek Vowel and Consonant Symbols. The Romans Adopt the Greek Alphabet. Later Developments of the Roman and Greek Alphabets. The Use of Digraphs. Additional Symbols. The History of English Writing. The Germanic Runes. The Anglo-Saxon Roman Alphabet. The Spelling of English Consonant Sounds. Stops. Fricatives. Affricates. Nasals. Liquids. Semivowels. The Spelling of English Vowel Sounds. Front Vowels. Central Vowels. Back Vowels. Diphthongs. Vowels plus [r]. Unstressed Vowels. Spelling Pronunciations and Pronunciation Spellings. Writing and History. For Further Reading. 4. THE BACKGROUNDS OF ENGLISH. Indo-European Origins. Indo-European Culture. The Indo-European Homeland. How Indo-European Was Discovered. Language Typology and Language Families. Non-Indo-European Languages. Main Divisions of the Indo-European Group. Indo-Iranian. Armenian and Albanian. Tocharian. Anatolian. Balto-Slavic. Hellenic. Italic. Celtic. Germanic. Cognate Words in the Indo-European Languages. Inflection in the Indo-European Languages. Some Verb Inflections. Some Noun Inflections. Word Order in the Indo-European Languages. Major Changes from Indo-European to Germanic. First Sound Shift. Grimm's Law. Verner's Law. The Sequence of the First Sound Shift. West Germanic Languages. For Further Reading. 5. THE OLD ENGLISH PERIOD (449-1100). Some Key Events in the Old English Period. History of the Anglo-Saxons. Britain before the English. The Coming of the English. The English in Britain. The First Viking Conquest. The Second Viking Conquest. The Scandinavians Become English. The Golden Age of Old English. Dialects of Old English. Pronunciation and Spelling. Vowels. Consonants. Handwriting. Stress. Vocabulary. The Germanic Word Stock. Gender in Old English. Grammar, Concord, and Inflection. Inflection. Nouns. i-Umlaut. Modern Survivals of Case and Number. Modifiers. Demonstratives. Adjectives. Adverbs. Pronouns. Personal Pronouns. Interrogative and Relative Pronouns. Verbs. Indicative Forms of Verbs. Subjunctive and Imperative Forms. Nonfinite Forms. Weak Verbs. Strong Verbs. Preterit-Present Verbs. Suppletive Verbs. Syntax. Old English Illustrated. For Further Reading. 6. THE MIDDLE ENGLISH PERIOD (1100-1500). Some Key Events in the Middle English Period. The Background of the Norman Conquest. The Reascendancy of English. Foreign Influences on Vocabulary. Middle English Spelling. Consonants. Vowels. The Rise of a London Standard. Changes in Pronunciation. Principal Consonant Changes. Middle English Vowels. Changes in Diphthongs. Lengthening and Shortening of Vowels. Leveling of Unstressed Vowels. Loss of Schwa in Final Syllables.Changes in Grammar. Reduction of Inflections. Loss of Grammatical Gender. Nouns, Pronouns, and Adjectives. The Inflection of Nouns. Personal Pronouns. Demonstrative Pronouns. Interrogative and Relative Pronouns. Comparative and Superlative Adjectives. Verbs. Personal Endings. Participles. Word Order. Middle English Illustrated. For Further Reading. 7. THE EARLY MODERN ENGLISH PERIOD (1500-1800): SOCIETY, SPELLINGS, AND SOUNDS. Some Key Events in the Early Modern Period. The Transition from Middle to Modern English. Expansion of the English Vocabulary. Innovation of Pronunciation and Conservation of Spelling. The Orthography of Early Modern English. The Great Vowel Shift. Other Vowels. Stressed Short Vowels. Diphthongs. Quantitative Vowel Changes. Early Modern English Consonants. Evidence for Early Modern Pronunciation. Stress. Scholarly Studies. Early Modern English Illustrated. Spelling. Pronunciation. For Further Reading. 8. THE EARLY MODERN ENGLISH PERIOD (1500-1800): FORMS, SYNTAX, AND USAGE. The Study of Language. Early Dictionaries. Eighteenth-Century Attitudes toward Grammar and Usage. Nouns. Irregular Plurals. His-Genitive. Group Genitive. Uninflected Genitive. Adjectives and Adverbs. Pronouns. Personal Pronouns. Relative and Interrogative Pronouns. Case Forms of the Pronouns. Verbs. Classes of Strong Verbs. Endings for Person and Number. Contracted Forms. Expanded Verb Forms. Other Verbal Constructions. Prepositions. Early Modern English Further Illustrated. 9. LATE MODERN ENGLISH (1800-PRESENT). Some Key Events in the Late Modern Period. The National Varieties of English. Conservatism and Innovation in American English. National Differences in Word Choice. American Infiltration of the British Word Stock. Syntactical and Morphological Differences. British and American Purism. Dictionaries and the Facts. National Differences in Pronunciation. British and American Spelling. Variation within National Varieties. Kinds of Variation. Regional Dialects. Ethnic and Social Dialects. Stylistic Variation. Variation within British English. World English. Irish English. Indian English. The Essential Oneness of All English. For Further Reading. 10. WORDS AND MEANINGS. Semantics and Change of Meaning. Variable and Vague Meanings. Etymology and Meaning. How Meaning Changes. Generalization and Specialization. Transfer of Meaning. Association of Ideas. Transfer from Other Languages. Sound Associations. Pejoration and Amelioration. Taboo and Euphemism. The Fate of Intensifying Words. Some Circumstances of Semantic Change. Vogue for Words of Learned Origin. Language and Semantic Marking. Semantic Change Is Inevitable. For Further Reading. 11. NEW WORDS FROM OLD. Creating Words. Root Creations. Echoic Words. Ejaculations. Combining Words: Compounding. Spelling and Pronunciation of Compounds. Amalgamated Compounds. Function and Form of Compounds. Combining Word Parts: Affixing. Affixes from Old English. Affixes from Other Languages. Voguish Affixes. Shortening Words. Clipped Forms. Initialisms: Alphabetisms and Acronyms. Apheretic and Aphetic Forms. Back-Formations. Blending Words. New Morphemes from Blending. Folk Etymology. Shifting Words to New Uses. One Part of Speech to Another. Common Words from Proper Names. Sources of New Words. Distribution of New Words. For Further Reading. 12. FOREIGN ELEMENTS IN THE ENGLISH WORD STOCK. Popular and Learned Loanwords. Latin and Greek Loanwords. Latin Influence in the Germanic Period. Latin Words in Old English. Latin Words Borrowed in Middle English Times. Latin Words Borrowed in Modern English Times. Greek Loanwords. Celtic Loanwords. Scandinavian Loanwords. Old and Middle English Borrowings. Modern English Borrowings. French Loanwords. Middle English Borrowings. Later French Loanwords. Spanish and Portuguese Loanwords. Italian Loanwords. Germanic Loanwords. Loanwords from Low German. Loanwords from High German. Loanwords from the East. Near East. Iran and India. Far East and Australasia. Other Sources. Loanwords from African Languages. Slavic, Hungarian, Turkish, and American Indian. The Sources of Recent Loanwords. English Remains English. For Further Reading. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY. GLOSSARY. INDEX OF MODERN ENGLISH WORDS AND AFFIXES. INDEX OF PERSONS, PLACES, AND TOPICS.