The History of Early English provides an accessible and student-friendly introduction to the history of the English language from its beginnings until the end of the Early Modern English period. Taking an activity-based approach, this text ensures that students learn by engaging with the fascinating evolution of this language rather than simply reading about it.
The History of Early English:
- Provides a comprehensive introduction to early, middle and early modern English;
- Introduces each language period with a text from writers such as Chaucer and Shakespeare, accompanied by a series of guiding questions and commentaries that will engage readers and give them a flavour of the language of the time;
- Features a range of activities that include discussion points, questions, online tasks and preparatory activities that seamlessly take the reader from one chapter to the next;
- Is supported by a companion website featuring audio files, further activities and links to online material.
Written by an experienced teacher and author, this book is the essential course textbook for any module on the history of English.
Table of Contents
PART A. PRELIMINARIES AND ANCESTRIES
1. HISTORY, AND HISTORICAL CHANGE
2 LANGUAGES AND THEIR DAUGHTERS
PART B. OLD ENGLISH
3 OLD ENGLISH: A FIRST LOOK
4 OE WRITING, PRONUNCIATION, AND A DEVIL OF A MOUTHFUL
5. THE OLD ENGLISH WORD-HOARD
6 OE GRAMMAR: A ‘JUNGLE OF ENDINGS’
7. OE LITERATURE: ‘A SYZYGY OF DIPODIC HEMISTICHS’
PART C. MIDDLE ENGLISH
8. LO, ENGLAND INTO NORMANDY’S HAND
9. ‘THE ENGLISH TONGUE . . . HONOURABLY ENLARGED AND ADORNED’: ME WORDS AND PRAGMATICS
10. ‘LIGHTER . . . THAN THE OLD AND ANCIENT ENGLISH’
11. ME LITERATURE: INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE ‘FIELD FULL OF FOLK’
PART D. INTERLUDE
12. A SHORT INTERLUDE ABOUT LONG VOWELS: THE GREAT VOWEL SHIFT
PART E. EARLY MODERN ENGLISH
13. ‘MANIE MATTERS OF SINGULAR DISCOURSE’: SOME ENGLISH RENAISSANCE HISTORY
14 ‘WRYTING TREU’ AND ‘SOUNDYING CLEARE’: EModE GRAPHOLOGY, SPELLING AND PRONUNCIATION
15 TURNING WATER INTO WINE: RENAISSANCE WORDS
16 ‘TRUE AND WELL-SPEAKING A LANGUAGE’: RENAISSANCE GRAMMAR
17. ‘I THOU THEE, THOU TRAITOR’: SOME RENAISSANCE PRAGMATICS
18 ‘WELL TURNED, AND TRUE FILED LINES’: RENAISSANCE LITERATURE
19. ‘A SETTLED, CERTAIN AND CORRECTED LANGUAGE’: THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY
Keith Johnson is Emeritus Professor of Linguistics and Language Education in the Department of Linguistics and English Language, University of Lancaster
"Johnson’s History of Early English does not disappoint. He has the knack of presenting difficult material in a refreshingly digestible and interactive style which links up the ancient-and-long-ago to today, and all of that is done without compromising on detail: he includes topics that are abuzz in the research world of the history of English."
Peter Tan, National University of Singapore
"Johnson’s account of the story of Old English is a remarkable achievement. It brings clarity, warmth and humour to a potentially dry topic, and provides a fascinating guide to the evolution of the English language from its beginnings until the end of the 17th century. The activities are integral to the book’s success, drawing the reader into the text while at the same time stimulating discussion and exploration beyond the text. The book will be an invaluable resource and a thoroughly enjoyable read for students of linguistics and lovers of language around the world."
Stephen Andrews, The University of Hong Kong
Please visit our companion website for additional support materials.