Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices

By DeMarco, Patricia | The Historian, Summer 2012 | Go to article overview

Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices


DeMarco, Patricia, The Historian


Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices. By David Crystal. (London, England: The British Library, 2010. Pp. 159. $35.00.)

Impressive in the comprehensive range of its illustrations and the clarity of its commentary, Evolving English presents a fascinating array of materials from the British Library that illustrate the use of English in myriad historical forms and social functions--from runic charms inscribed on ancient medallions, to sensationalist depictions of crime in popular nineteenth-century broadsides, to contemporary poetry composed in text message style. Each illustration is presented in a large, high-quality, and readable format--a welcome change from typically cramped textbook reproductions. David Crystal's wide-ranging commentary is sure to fascinate the general reader as well as the student of the history of English. The volume has a somewhat disjointed structure. The core of the volume follows the structure of the original exhibit, organizing illustrations by domain of usage: English in everyday use, English at work, and English at play. Framing this core, Crystal traces the emergence of a standard variety of English, charting attitudes towards variation in a wide range of texts.

One persistent theme of Evolving English is anxiety about language variation. Citing complaints by prescriptivists throughout the study (e.g., that speakers lack the ability to distinguish the verb "to lie" from "to lay"), Crystal offers a useful historical vantage point, demonstrating that "many of the variations in usage which now cause upset" are found earlier (54). Even so, Crystal tends both to valorize the standardization of a variety as an achievement and naturalize the promotion of a single variety as a national standard. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

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 article

This article 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 article

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

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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 article

Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

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?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access 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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.