Alternative Histories of English

By Richard Watts; Peter Trudgill | Go to book overview

3

'North of Watford Gap'

A cultural history of Northern English (from 1700)

Katie Wales

Introduction

Tony Crowley (1991:2) has noted significantly how the 'history' of the English language has generally been seen as a 'seamless narrative'; and one which, we may add, on the evidence of the many textbooks on the subject published, assumes this history to be that of standard English, especially after the Middle English period. Indeed, Burnley's explicit comment, odd though it is, on his own work underlines the traditional orthodoxy: that he 'sustains the consensus view of the development of the language through successive historical periods to the goal of present-day standard English' (Burnley 1992: x) (my italics). In this accepted version of history handed down from generation of students to generation, dialects of English, safely subsumed under the catch-all term 'non-standard' varieties (and labelled only in relation to the standard), are marginalised, ceasing to have any significance after the emergence of a written standard in London during the fifteenth century. It is as if they have no existence: yet even though dialect features were indeed submerged by the spread of the standard in formal and literary writings, popular dialect literature continued in both oral and written forms, and dialects flourished in spoken discourse, as today, albeit subject to hegemonic condescension and even ridicule. Of course, the 'silence' of dialects in public spheres means that evidence for their earlier history before an age of technical recording can be hard to retrieve. There is also the problem, which hinders dialect studies even today, that certain aspects of dialect study have been comparatively neglected, namely syntax, pragmatics and prosody (stress and intonation), and, until fairly recently, the study of urban speech.

These and other reasons may account for the fact that focused studies of the history of regional varieties are scarce: as far as I know, there is no detailed or extensive history of Northern English, for example. 1 Not that this history is completely ignored in traditional accounts, especially for the Late Old English and Middle English periods, although, strangely, Skeat (1911:24) dismisses this period of the dialect's history as 'with a few insignificant exceptions … a total blank'. For due weight has indeed to be given, for example, to the 'contributions' of Northern English, most probably under the impact of the Scandinavian settlements in the Danelaw area, to the

-45-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Alternative Histories of English
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 281

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.