History of English: A Resource Book for Students, 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover

History of English

A Resource Book for Students, 2nd Edition

By Dan McIntyre


280 pages

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Hardback: 9781138500716
pub: 2020-03-30
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History of English provides students with the historical and contextual background to the study of English and answers the questions of why and how the English language has come to be written and spoken as it is today. This book provides a fresh perspective and innovative insight into an area that is often dealt with in a prosaic and dry manner. This revised second edition includes:

  • a comprehensive introduction to the history of English covering the origins of English, the change from Old to Middle English, and the influence of other languages on English;
  • Increased coverage of key issues, such as the standardisation of English;
  • A wider range of activities, plus answers to exercises;
  • New readings of well-known authors such as Manfred Krug, Colette Moore, Merja Stenroos and David Crystal;
  • A timeline of important external events in the history of English.

Structured to reflect the chronological development of the English language, History of English describes and explains the changes in the language over a span of 1500 years, covering all aspects from phonology and grammar, to the register and discourse. In doing so, it incorporates examples from a wide variety of texts and provides an interactive and structured textbook that will be essential reading for all students of English language and linguistics.

Table of Contents




Common abbreviations

Phonetic symbols


How to use this book


An external history of English

A1 Origins of English

A2 The history of English or the history of Englishes?

A3 Language contact in the Middle Ages

A4 From Middle English to Early Modern English

A5 The process of standardisation

A6 Colonialism, Imperialism and the spread of English

A7 Moves towards Present Day English

A8 Global English and beyond


A developing language

B1 Understanding Old English

B2 Varieties of Old English

B3 The emergence of Middle English

B4 Sound shifts

B5 Writing in Early Modern English

B6 The development of American English

B7 International English

B8 The globalisation of English


Exploring the history of English

C1 The roots of English

C2 Regions and dialects

C3 From Old English to Middle English

C4 Codification and attitudes towards English

C5 Further elements of grammar in Early Modern English

C6 English in the New World

C7 Present Day Englishes

C8 The future of English


Readings in the history of English

D1 Vocabulary and meaning in Old English

D2 Changes in grammatical gender

D3 Medieval multilingualism

D4 Shifting sounds

D5 The development of a written standard

D6 The beginnings of global English

D7 Studying recent change in English

D8 English in the future

Commentary on activities

Glossary of linguistic terms

Further reading

General histories of English

Old English

Middle English

Early Modern English

Eighteenth-century English to the present day

World Englishes

Timeline of external events in the history of English



About the Author

Dan McIntyre is Professor of English Language and Linguistics at the University of Huddersfield, UK. Follow him on Twitter @danguage.

About the Series

Routledge English Language Introductions

Routledge English Language Introductions cover core areas of English language study and are one-stop resources for students.
Assuming no prior knowledge, books in the series offer an accessible overview of the subject, with activities, study questions, sample analyses, commentaries and key readings - all in the same volume.
The innovative and flexible 'two-way' structure is built around four sections - introduction, development, exploration and extension - which offer self-contained stages for study. Each topic can also be read across these sections, enabling the reader to build gradually on the knowledge gained.
Each book in the series has a companion website with extra resources for teachers, lecturers and students.
Visit the series website at: http://cw.routledge.com/textbooks/reli/ for more information and to explore.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

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