Historical Sociolinguistics: Language Change in Tudor and Stuart England, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Historical Sociolinguistics

Language Change in Tudor and Stuart England, 2nd Edition

By Terttu Nevalainen, Helena Raumolin-Brunberg


306 pages

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Historical Sociolinguistics: Language Change in Tudor and Stuart England is the seminal text in the field of historical sociolinguistics. Demonstrating the real-world application of sociolinguistic research methodologies, this book examines the social factors which promoted linguistic changes in English, laying the foundation for Modern Standard English.

This revised edition of Nevalainen and Raumolin-Brunberg’s ground-breaking work:

  • discusses the grammatical developments that shaped English in the early modern period;
  • presents the sociolinguistic factors affecting linguistic change in Tudor and Stuart English, including gender, social status, and regional variation;
  • showcases the authors’ research into personal letters from the people who were the driving force behind these changes; and
  • demonstrates how historical linguists can make use of social and demographic history to analyse linguistic variation over an extended period of time.

With brand new chapters on language change and the individual, and on newly developed sociolinguistic research methods, Historical Sociolinguistics is essential reading for all students and researchers in this area.


"This revised edition of Historical Sociolinguistics: Language Change in Tudor and Stuart England testifies to the vivid interest in this interdisciplinary discipline by bringing in newly developed methodologies and approaches. Like in the first edition, empirical and illustrative case studies together with stimulating and enlightening research make this book a classic and an indispensable work for everyone interested in the whys and wherefores of sociolinguistic variation from a historical perspective."

Nuria Yáñez-Bouza, University of Vigo, Spain and University of Manchester, UK

Table of Contents

Preface to the second edition

Preface to the first edition

List of figures

List of tables

1. Introduction: issues in historical sociolinguistics

2. Sociolinguistic paradigms and language change

3. Primary data: background and informants

4. Real time

5. Apparent time

6. Gender

7. Social stratification

8. Regional variation

9. Historical patterning of sociolinguistic variation

10. Language change and the individual

11. Language change: transmission and diffusion

12. Conclusion

Appendix I: Methodology: how to count occurrences?

Appendix II: Numerical information

Appendix III: The letter collections


Author index

Subject index

About the Authors

Terttu Nevalainen is Professor of English Philology and Director of the VARIENG Research Unit in the Department of Modern Languages, University of Helsinki.

Helena Raumolin-Brunberg was formerly a Senior Researcher in the Department of English, University of Helsinki.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Historical & Comparative
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Sociolinguistics