An Historical Study of English: Function, Form, and Change


Through his analysis of selected major developments in the history of English, Jeremy Smith argues that the history of the language can only be understood from a dynamic perspective. In this book, he proposes that internal linguistic mechanisms for language change cannot be meaningfully explained in isolation or without reference to external linguistic factors.Smith provides the reader with an accessible synthesis of recent developments in English historical linguistics. This book:* looks at the theory and methodology of linguistic historiography* considers the major changes in writing systems, pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary* provides examples of these changes, such as standardisation of spelling and accent, and the origins of the Great Vowel Shift* focuses on the origins of two non-standard varieties: eighteenth-century Scots and twentieth-century British Black-English.This book will be fascinating reading to students of English historical linguistics, and will make an original, important and, above all, lively contribution to the field. Jeremy Smith is reader in English Language at the University of Glasgow.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1996


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