The English Language in Modern Times, since 1400

The English Language in Modern Times, since 1400

The English Language in Modern Times, since 1400

The English Language in Modern Times, since 1400

Excerpt

In presenting the second edition of this textbook I should like to express my thanks for the corrections and suggestions that have come to me by way of reviews and private correspondence. Basic errors, both typographical and factual, have I trust been properly dealt with. However, it has not been possible to deal with or even include reference to many of the individual problems and special studies mentioned by the reviewers. All of them are no doubt valuable and significant. But in the first place, I do not here have at my disposal the materials essential for a discussion of some of the topics proposed (for instance, Canadian or Australian English, interesting as these are). In the second place, I have tried to keep in mind the needs of undergraduate students at a Polish university, most of whom are specializing in literary, not linguistic research. They require philological aid primarily for the better understanding of literary texts included on their reading lists. Even for linguists proper I have done little more than indicate the general trends and the major studies which would guide them towards further investigation. Special articles are cited by way of example or because they give useful bibliography; there is no pretense to exhaustiveness.

Recent important studies, unavailable when I concluded the first edition of this book (March, 1958), suggest revisions not as yet undertaken, for reasons of time and technique. For instance, B. Trnka, A Phonemic Aspect of the Great Vowel Shift, in Mélanges de linguistique et de philologie F. Mossé in memoriam (Paris, 1959), proposes a neat correlation of quantity and tenseness of vowels which should be carefully considered in any treatment of the subject. The chapter on American dialects by R. I. McDavid, Jr., in W. N. Francis, The Structure of American English (New York, 1958), should be read as supplement to my brief discussion. The whole question of Middle English dialects is now being subjected to rigorous scrutiny by Angus McIntosh (Edinburgh) and others. The results will probably lead to a basic revision of the pioneer work by Whitehall, Moore and Meech (1935), upon which I have chiefly relied. Current work on Modern English dialects will also, in due course, render obsolete my discussion of that subject, based on materials and analyses of the never-to-be-forgotten Joseph Wright. In the meantime, I can only hope that the present outline, sketchy as it is, may continue for some time to serve the interests of the students and general readers for whom it was intended.

Margaret Schlauch

Warsaw, February 1964 . . .

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