The History of the English Language : A Sourcebook book cover
2nd Edition

The History of the English Language
A Sourcebook

ISBN 9780582312630
Published May 31, 2000 by Routledge
440 Pages

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Book Description

This second edition of The History of the English Language- A Sourcebook provides a comprehensive and accessible guide to the origins and development of the English language. First published in 1992, the book contains over fifty illustrative passages, drawn from the oldest English to the twentieth century. The passages are contextualised by individual introductions and grouped into the traditional periods of Old English, Early Middle English, Later Middle English, Early Modern English and Modern English. These periods are connected by brief essays explaining the major linguistic developments associated with each period, to produce a continuous outline history.
For this new edition Professor Burnley has expanded the outline of linguistic features at each of the main chronological divisions and included more selections and illustrations. A new section has also been included to illustrate the language of advertising from the 18th century to the present. The book will be of general interest to all those interested in the origins and development of the English language, and in particular to students and teachers of the history of the English language at A-level and university.



David Burnley is Head of the Department of English Language and Linguistics at the University of Sheffield. His academic career has focused on the languages and literature of the medieval period, making a special point of the connections between language, literature and culture. His previous publications include the books- Chaucer's Language and the Philosopher's Tradition (1979), The Language of Chaucer (1989), An Annotated Bibliography of the Language of Middle English Literature (with Matsuji Tajima, 1994), Courtliness and Literature in Medieval England (1998).


'... he provides 50 or so texts, attractively presented, well edited and in the case of earlier texts helpfully translated...'
Times Literary Supplement