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English in Its Social Contexts: Essays in Historical Sociolinguistics

Synopsis

This is a collection of contributed essays on the social history of the English language. It will be the second volume in the Oxford Studies in Sociolinguistics series, edited by Edward Finegan. Linguists are increasingly aware that external social contact can be as significant as internal grammatical structure in instigating and determining the direction of changes within a language's syntax, phonology, and lexicon. Despite this fact, however, existing textbooks on the history of English give scant attention to this sociolinguistic perspective. The present work is designed to serve as a much needed supplement to such texts. The essays in the volume, written by recognized authorities in their fields, address each of the traditional periods of English. Topics covered include: the social status and uses of English, the relations between English and co-existent languages, the relations between varieties of spoken and written language, language as a political and socio-economic instrument, and attitudes towards varieties of English. The book should attract supplementary use in courses in applied linguistics and sociolinguistics as well as in the history of the English language.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Thomas E. Toon
  • Jeremy J. Smith
  • Joseph M. Williams
  • Edward Finegan
  • John Algeo
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1992