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A History of English: A Sociolinguistic Approach



A History of English: A Sociolinguistic Approach

Barbara Fennell

ISBN: 978-0-631-20073-4 February 2001 Wiley-Blackwell 304 Pages

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A History of English provides an intelligent and accessible synthesis of modern sociolinguistic approaches to the development of the English Language.

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Part I: Introduction:.

The Time Periods of English.

Language Change.

Sources of Information on Language Change.

Linguistic Preliminaries.

The Sounds of English, and Symbols Used to Describe Them:.



Structure of The Book.

Part II: The Pre-History of English:.

Timeline of Events 1. The Indo-European Period.

The Indo-Europeans and Linguistic Relatedness:.

The Beginnings.

The Development of Historical Linguistics.

Genetic Relatedness.

Linguistic Developments. The Indo-European Language Family:.

Family Tree Relationships.

The Indo-European Family.















East Germanic.

North Germanic.

West Germanic.

Low Germanic.

High Germanic.


From Indo-European to Germanic:.


The Consonant System: Sound Shifts.

Grimm's Law.

Verner's Law.

The Second Consonant Shift.

Possible Explanations For The High German (Second) Sound Shift.

The Vowel System.





Indo-European/Germanic Texts.

Neogrammarians, Structuralists and Contemporary Linguistic Models.

Typological Classification:.


Morphological Typology.

Sociolinguistic Focus. The Indo-European Tribes and The Spread of Language. Language Contact and Language Change: Archaeological Linguistics:.

Language Contact.

Archaeological Linguistics.

Part III: Old English 450-1100:.

Timeline of Events 2. The Old English Period.

Social and Political History:.

Britain Before The English.

The Anglo-Saxon Invasions.

Anglo-Saaxon Influence.

Scandinavian Influence.

Linguistic Developments: The Sounds, Structure and Typology of Old English:.

The Structure of Old English.

Oe Consonants.

Vowels: From Germanic to Old English.

Old English Vowels.

Old English Gender.

Inflection In Old English.

The Noun.

The Adjective.

Oe Personal Pronouns.

The Old English Verb.

Strong Verbs.

Weak Verbs.

Irregular Verbs.

Old English Syntax.

The Use of The Cases.

Word Order.

Old English Vocabulary.

Word Formation.

Linguistic/Literary Achievements:.




The Dialects of Old English:.

Sociolinguistic Focus:.

Language Contact.

Latin and Celtic.

The Scandinavians.

The Character of Scandinavian Loan Words.

Part IV: Middle English:.

Timeline of Events 3. The Middle English Period.

Social and Political History:.

Politcal History : The Norman Conquest to Edward I.

Social History.

The Establishment of Towns and Burghs and The Beginnings of Social Stratification.

Linguistic Developments: Middle English Sounds and Structure, With Particular Emphasis on The Breakdown of The Inflectional System and Its Linguistic Typological Implications:.

Major Changes to The Sound System.

The Consonants.

Consonant Changes From Old to Middle English.

The Vowels In Stressed Syllables.

Vowels In Unstressed Syllables.

Lengthening and Shortening.

Summary Table of Vowel Changes From Old to Middle English.

The Formation of Middle English Diphthongs.

Major Morphological Changes From Old to Middle English.

Loss of Inflections.

Other Changes In The Morphological System.


Middle English Syntax.

The Lexicon: Loan Words From French.

Two French Sources.

Middle English Dialects:.

Linguistic/Literary Achievements.

Middle English Literature.



Sociolinguistic Focus: Social Stratification, Multilingualism and Dialect Variation: Language Contact - The Myth of Middle English Creolisation:.

English Re-established.

Language and The Rise of The Middle Class.

The Development of Standard English.

The Evolution of Me 'Standard' English.

The Question of Middle English Creolisation: Myth?.


Pidgins and Creoles In England?.

Thomason and Kaufman and The Arguments For and Against Creolisation In Middle English.

On The Sociolinguistic History of /H/-Dropping In English.


Part V: Early Modern English:.

Timeline of Events 4. The Early Modern English Period.

Social and Political History:.

Historical and Social Background.

Internal Stability and Colonial Expansion.

Linguistic Developments: The Variable Character of Early Modern English:.




The Great Vowel Shift.




Adjectives, Adverbs.


The Spread of Northern Forms.


Periphrastic Do.

Progressive Verb Forms.


Sample Text.


The Anxious State of English: The Search For Authority.

Dictionaries and The Question of Linguistic Authority; Swift's and Johnson's View of Language.

Linguistic and Literary Achievement:.

Sociolinguistic Focus:.

Cariation In Early Modern English.


The Printing Press.

The Renaissance and The Protestant Reformation.

English Established.

Orthography: The Orthoepists.

The Great Vowel Shift.

Phonological Change.

Case Study: Power and Solidarity Relations In Early Modern English.

Part VI: Present Day English:.

Timeline of Events 5. Present Day English.


Social and Political History:.

The Age of Revolutions, Wars and Imperialism.

Urbanisation, Industrialisation and Social Stratification.

Linguistic Developments:.

Morphology and Syntax.



The Lexicon.

Colonialism, Contac, and Borrowings.


Illustrative Texts.

Modern English Dialects:.

Traditional Dialects.

Modern Dialects.

Received Pronunciation (Rp): The Social Background.

Characteristics of Rp.

Rp, Estuary English and 'The Queen's English'.

Sociolinguistic Focus: English In Scotland, Ireland and Wales: Multilingualism In Britain:.

English In The British Isles.

English In Scotland.

English In Wales.

English In Ireland.

Irish English Dialects.

Immigrant Varieties of English In Britain.

Immigration to Britain In The Pde Period.

Colonial Immigration and Language.

Part VII: English In The United States:.

Timeline of Events 6. America In The Modern Period.

Social and Political History:.

Settlement and Language.

Settlement By Region.

The Original Thirteen Colonies.

The Pronunciation of /R/ In The Mid Atlantic - New England Dialect Regions.

The Middle West.

The South and West.

The Development of American English:.

The Strength and Maintenance of Dialect Boundaries.

How, Why and When American English Began to Diverge From British English.

Physical Separation.

The Different Physical Conditions Encountered By The Settlers.

Contact With Immigrant Non-Native Speakers of English.

Developing Political Differences and The Growing American Sense of National Identity.

Language Variation In The United States:.

Uniformity and Diversity In Early American English.

Regional Dialect Divisions In American English.

The Lexicon.

Phonolgy: Consonants.

Phonolgy: Vowels.

Social and Ethnic Dialects.

Social Class and Language Change.


African American Vernacular English.

Traditional Dialects and The Resistance to Change.

Part VIII: World-Wide English:.

Timeline of Events 7. World-Wide English.

Social and Political History: The Spread of English Across The Globe:.

British Colonialism.


The Caribbean.


New Zealand.

South Africa.

South Asia.

Former Colonial Africa: West Africa.

East Africa.

South East Asia and South Pacific.

An Overview of The Use of English Throughout The World.

English As A Global Language:.

The Industrial Revolution.

American Economic Superiority and Political Leadership.

American Technological Domination.

The Boom In English Language Teaching.

The Need For A Global Language.

Structural Considerations.

Global and At The Same Time Local.

English As A Killer Language:.

Language Death.

Language and Communication Technology.

The Future of English:.



"[Fennell] gives an excellent account of the global spread of modern English." Times Higher Education Supplement

"Offers an excellent background in the history of the world's second language." Geolinguistics

  • Provides a comprehensive overview of the history of English.
  • Covers structure, culture, literature and sociolinguistic issues.
  • Textual examples are given from a number of genres of writing including classical literature, letters, prose writings, modern popular literature and software documentation.