By Gerry Knowles
This booklet offers a brand new interpretation of the historical past of English. entry to giant corpuses of English has allowed students to evaluate the trivia of linguistic switch with a lot better precision than sooner than, usually pinpointing the beginnings of linguistic strategies in position and time. the writer makes use of the findings from this examine to narrate significant ancient occasions to alter within the language, particularly to components of linguistic inquiry which were of specific significance in recent times, resembling discourse research, stylistics and paintings on pidgins and creoles. The publication doesn't try and chronicle alterations in syntax or pronunciation and spelling, yet is designed to enrich a corpus-based learn of formal adjustments. the tale of English is cited to the past due Nineteen Nineties to incorporate, among different issues, discussions of Estuary English and the consequences of the knowledge superhighway.
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Additional info for A Cultural History of the English Language (The English Language Series)
Much of the above analysis remains speculative in view of our lack of knowledge of the detail of the dialects of Scandinavia and the Danelaw. Many of the features regarded as typically English, for example the soft [k, g] in bench and ridge, are actually found somewhere in the Norse area (Geipel, 1971). Norse typically drops the initial [w] from worm and Wednesday, but worm and Wonsda have also been attested. The loss of  in folk and half is typically English, but it has also been found in Scandinavia.
When the native populations of Europe adopted Celtic, they did not become ethnic Celts, 20 The origins of the English language but Celtic-speaking members of the tribes to which they already belonged. In the conquered territories that became the Roman empire, many people became Roman citizens and spoke Latin. It is easy to assume that they were all Romans, but again this is to confuse language and race. Writers of popular books sometimes imagine that the Roman soldiers stationed in the wind and rain on Hadrian's Wall must have longed for the cloudless skies of Italy.
It is for this reason the variety of Old English which is traditionally taught to students to enable them to study the literature of the period. As an official language, it became to some extent independent of the spoken language, and eventually an archaic language, preserving the features of the language of the time when it became established as a prestige form. Official West Saxon survived the Danish conquest, and for a time the Norman conquest. The English capital moved from Winchester to London, with the result that spoken West Saxon developed not into the standard pronunciation of Modern English, but into the rhotic dialects of the south west.
A Cultural History of the English Language (The English Language Series) by Gerry Knowles