A Survey of Modern English

A Survey of Modern English

A Survey of Modern English

A Survey of Modern English


A comprehensive, scholarly and systematic review of modern English in one volume. It presents a description of both the linguistic structure of present-day English and its geographical, social, gender and ethnic variations.


A Survey of Modern English has grown, over more than a dozen years, from a vague idea in the late 1970s, by way of our German-language book Das moderne Englisch, to what it is here, a sometimes expanded, sometimes abridged, and, in any case, very differently structured volume.

This book is to a large extent the product of teaching the subjects treated here to several generations of students in Bielefeld. We need, therefore, to thank them for reminding us again and again to keep our feet on the ground and to remember what they need and want: a view of the language related to what they know, explanations for phenomena that are new for them, insights into structures difficult to analyse immediately, and descriptions of varieties of English never before (or at least not extensively) encountered. It is because of our students, whom we have constantly had in mind in writing, that we have tried to be so relatively comprehensive and have made continual efforts to give straightforward explanations and to avoid too much unnecessary terminology. Where we have used the terms of the field we have tried to be clear about what they designate either by using short glosses or by providing more extensive discussion.

We have also had our students in mind as we have made the often hard choices about what to include and what to leave out. Needless to say, the choices could have been different and not everyone who uses this book will agree one hundred per cent. Nor, we know, will everyone agree with us in all of our interpretations. We know this from our own experience with each other. For although we divided up the work more or less according to themes and chapters (KMP: 1, 2, 5, 6; SG: 3, 4, 7-10, 12-16; both: 11) and have read and discussed each other’s work critically, there has not always been complete agreement between the two of us.

Finally, we would like to single out a few of the people who have not always agreed and to thank them for their time and constructive criticism. Käthe Henke-Brown of Bielefeld University deserves special mention for the care she has taken in reading and discussing material from this book. Elizabeth Archibald of the University of Victoria, British Columbia, has

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