A History of the English Language  book cover
6th Edition

A History of the English Language

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ISBN 9780415655965
Published October 25, 2013 by Routledge
480 Pages

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Book Description


A History of the English Language explores the linguistic and cultural development of English from the Roman conquest of England to the present day to provide a comprehensive overview of the different aspects of its history. This best-selling classic textbook has been revised and updated and encourages the reader to develop both an understanding of present-day English and an enlightened attitude toward the issues affecting the language today. 

New features of the sixth edition include:

  • an additional chapter titled ‘English in the Twenty-first Century’, which examines the future of English and other global languages and includes an assessment of Chinese as a world language
  • an in-depth treatment of phonological changes, such as the placement of the Great Vowel Shift as a bridge between Middle English and Renaissance English
  • further coverage of corpus linguistics, especially for Renaissance English
  • fresh sections on accent and register
  • a new survey of the recent debate between "creolists" and "neo-Anglicists" on the origins of African American Vernacular English.

Balanced and wide-ranging, this textbook is a must-read for any student studying the history of the English language

Table of Contents

Preface 1. English Present and Future  2. The Indo- European Family of Languages 3. Old English  4. Foreign Influences on Old English  5. The Norman Conquest and the Subjection of English, 1066–1200  6. The Reestablishment of English, 1200–1500  7. Middle English  8. The Renaissance, 1500–1650  9. The Appeal to Authority, 1650–1800  10. The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries  11.  The English Language in America  12. The Twenty-first Century  Appendix A: Specimens of the Middle English Dialects  Appendix B: English Spelling

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Albert C. Baugh was Schelling Memorial Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, USA

Thomas Cable is Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin, USA


"This classic has beeen thoroughly revised and updated. It has expanded its coverage of the history of English, and incorporates topics of new fields of research. The sixth edition will serve its readers well."- Peter Erdmann, Technische University, Berlin, Germany