A History of the English Language

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  • Edition: 5th
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2001-11-09
  • Publisher: Longman
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Comprehensive and balanced, this classic exploration of the history of the English language combines internal linguistic history and external cultural historyfrom the Middle Ages to the present. Emphasis is on the political, social and cultural forces that affect language.Reflects the latest trends and statistics of the last ten years in a revised and updated chapter 1, English Present and Future. Provides a new section on Gender Issues and Linguistic Change in Chapter 10. Includes a thorough revision of Chapter 11, The English Language in America, including updated material on African American Vernacular English. Discusses Black English and varieties of English in Africa and Asia, as well as varieties in the United States, Australia, and Canada. Includes a map of American dialects. Provides examples of twentieth-century vocabulary.For multilingual readers or anyone who wishes to develop a well-rounded understanding of present-day English.

Table of Contents

Preface xiii
English Present and Future
The History of the English Language a Cultural Subject
Influences at Work on Language
Growth and Decay
The Importance of a Language
The Importance of English
The Future of the English Language
English as a World Language
Assets and Liabilities
Cosmopolitan Vocabulary
Inflectional Simplicity
Natural Gender
The Indo-European Family of Languages
Language Constantly Changing
Dialectal Differentiation
The Discovery of Sanskrit
Grimm's Law
The Indo-European Family
Twentieth-century Discoveries
The Home of the Indo-Europeans
Old English
The Languages in England before English
The Romans in Britain
The Roman Conquest
Romanization of the Island
The Latin Language in Britain
The Germanic Conquest
Anglo-Saxon Civilization
The Names ``England'' and ``English''
The Origin and Position of English
The Periods in the History of English
The Dialects of Old English
Some Characteristics of Old English
The Noun
Grammatical Gender
The Adjective
The Definite Article
The Personal Pronoun
The Verb
The Language Illustrated
The Resourcefulness of the Old English Vocabulary
Self-explaining Compounds
Prefixes and Suffixes
Old English Syntax
Old English Literature
Foreign Influences on Old English
The Contact of English with Other Languages
The Celtic Influence
Celtic Place-Names and Other Loanwords
Three Latin Influences on Old English
Chronological Criteria
Continental Borrowing (Latin Influence of the Zero Period)
Latin through Celtic Transmission (Latin Influence of the First Period)
Latin Influence of the Second Period: The Christianizing of Britain
Effects of Christianity on English Civilization
The Earlier Influence of Christianity on the Vocabulary
The Benedictine Reform
Influence of the Benedictine Reform on English
The Application of Native Words to New Concepts
The Extent of the Influence
The Scandinavian Influence: The Viking Age
The Scandinavian Invasions of England
The Settlement of the Danes in England
The Amalgamation of the Two Peoples
The Relation of the Two Languages
The Tests of Borrowed Words
Scandinavian Place-Names
The Earliest Borrowing
Scandinavian Loanwords and Their Character
The Relation of Borrowed and Native Words
Form Words
Scandinavian Influence outside the Standard Speech
Effect on Grammar and Syntax
Period and Extent of the Influence
The Norman Conquest and the Subjection of English, 1066--1200
The Norman Conquest
The Origin of Normandy
The Year 1066
The Norman Settlement
The Use of French by the Upper Class
Circumstances Promoting the Continued Use of French
The Attitude toward English
French Literature at the English Court
Fusion of the Two Peoples
The Diffusion of French and English
Knowledge of English among the Upper Class
Knowledge of French among the Middle Class
The Reestablishment of English, 1200--1500
Changing Conditions after 1200
The Loss of Normandy
Separation of the French and English Nobility
French Reinforcements
The Reaction against Foreigners and the Growth of National Feeling
French Cultural Ascendancy in Europe
English and French in the Thirteenth Century
Attempts to Arrest the Decline of French
Provincial Character of French in England
The Hundred Years' War
The Rise of the Middle Class
General Adoption of English in the Fourteenth Century
English in the Law Courts
English in the Schools
Increasing Ignorance of French in the Fifteenth Century
French as a Language of Culture and Fashion
The Use of English in Writing
Middle English Literature
Middle English
Middle English a Period of Great Change
Decay of Inflectional Endings
The Noun
The Adjective
The Pronoun
The Verb
Losses among the Strong Verbs
Strong Verbs That Became Weak
Survival of Strong Participles
Surviving Strong Verbs
Loss of Grammatical Gender
Middle English Syntax
French Influence on the Vocabulary
Governmental and Administrative Words
Ecclesiastical Words
Army and Navy
Fashion, Meals, and Social Life
Art, Learning, Medicine
Breadth of the French Influence
Anglo-Norman and Central French
Popular and Literary Borrowings
The Period of Greatest Influence
Loss of Native Words
Differentiation in Meaning
Curtailment of OE Processes of Derivation
Self-explaining Compounds
The Language Still English
Latin Borrowings in Middle English
Aureate Terms
Synonyms at Three Levels
Words from the Low Countries
Dialectal Diversity of Middle English
The Middle English Dialects
The Rise of Standard English
The Importance of London English
The Spread of the London Standard
Complete Uniformity Still Unattained
The Renaissance, 1500--1650
Changing Conditions in the Modern Period
Effect upon Grammar and Vocabulary
The Problems of the Vernaculars
The Struggle for Recognition
The Problem of Orthography
The Problem of Enrichment
The Opposition to Inkhorn Terms
The Defense of Borrowing
Permanent Additions
Reintroductions and New Meanings
Rejected Words
Reinforcement through French
Words from the Romance Languages
The Method of Introducing the New Words
Enrichment from Native Sources
Methods of Interpreting the New Words
Dictionaries of Hard Words
Nature and Extent of the Movement
The Movement Illustrated in Shakespeare
Shakespeare's Pronunciation
The Importance of Sound-changes
From Old to Middle English
From Middle English to Modern
The Great Vowel Shift
Weakening of Unaccented Vowels
Grammatical Features
The Noun
The Adjective
The Pronoun
The Verb
Usage and Idiom
General Characteristics of the Period
The Appeal to Authority, 1650--1800
The Impact of the Seventeenth Century
The Temper of the Eighteenth Century
Its Reflection in the Attitude toward the Language
The Problem of ``Refining'' the Language
The Desire to ``Fix'' the Language
The Example of Italy and France
An English Academy
Swift's Proposal, 1712
Objection to an Academy
Substitutes for an Academy
Johnson's Dictionary
The Eighteenth-century Grammarians and Rhetoricians
The Aims of the Grammarians
The Beginnings of Prescriptive Grammar
Methods of Approach
The Doctrine of Usage
Weakness of the Early Grammarians
Attempts to Reform the Vocabulary
Objection to Foreign Borrowings
The Expansion of the British Empire
Some Effects of Expansion on the Language
Development of Progressive Verb Forms
The Progressive Passive
The Nineteenth Century and After
Influences Affecting the Language
The Growth of Science
Automobile, Film, Broadcasting, Computer
The World Wars
Language as a Mirror of Progress
Sources of the New Words: Borrowings
Self-explaining Compounds
Compounds Formed from Greek and Latin Elements
Prefixes and Suffixes
Common Words from Proper Names
Old Words with New Meanings
The Influence of Journalism
Changes of Meaning
Cultural Levels and Functional Varieties
The Standard Speech
English Dialects
English World-Wide
Pidgins and Creoles
Spelling Reform
Purist Efforts
Gender Issues and Linguistic Change
The Oxford English Dictionary
Grammatical Tendencies
Verb-adverb Combinations
A Liberal Creed
The English Language in America
The Settlement of America
The Thirteen Colonies
The Middle West
The Far West
Uniformity of American English
Archaic Features in American English
Early Changes in the Vocabulary
National Consciousness
Noah Webster and an American Language
Webster's Influence on American Spelling
Webster's Influence on American Pronunciation
The American Dialects
The Controversy over Americanisms
The Purist Attitude
Present Differentiation of Vocabulary
American Words in General English
Scientific Interest in American English
American English and World English
Appendix A Specimens of the Middle English Dialects 409(13)
Appendix B English Spelling 422(7)
Index 429


Before the present author ever became associated with Albert C. Baugh'sA History of the English Language,several generations of teachers and students had appreciated its enduring qualities. Not least of these, and often remarked upon, was the full attention paid to the historical and cultural setting of the development of the language. This original emphasis has made it possible for subsequent editions to include discussions of current issues and varieties of English in ways that could not have been specifically foreseen in 1935. The fifth edition continues this updating by expanding the sections on African American Varnacular English and Hispanic American English, adding a section on Gender Issues and Linguistic Change, and incorporating small changes throughout. Once again global events have affected global English and necessitated revisions, especially in the first and last chapters. Baugh's original text was supported by footnotes and bibliographies that not only acknowledged the sources of his narrative but also pointed directions for further study and research. In each successive edition new references have been added. To avoid documentary growth, sprawl, and incoherence by simple accretion, the present edition eliminates a number of references that have clearly been susperseded. At the same time it keeps many that might not usually be consulted by students in order to give a sense of the foundations and progress of the study of the subject.In the first edition Baugh stated his aim as follows: The present book, intended primarily for college students, aims to present the historical development of English in such a way as to preserve a proper balance between what may be called internal history-- sounds and inflections--and external history--the political, social, and intellectual forces that have determined the course of that development at different periods. The writer is convinced that the soundest basis for an understanding of present-day English and for an enlightened attitude towards questions affecting the language today is a knowledge of the path which it has pursued in becoming what it is. For this reason equal attention has been paid to its earlier and its later stages.As in previous editions, the original plan and purpose have not been altered.The various developments of linguistic inquiry and theory during the half century after theHistory'soriginal publication have made parts of its, exposition seem to some readers overly traditional. However, a history presented through the lens of a single theory is narrow when the theory is current, and dated when the theory is superseded. Numerous other histories of English have made intelligent use of a particular theory of phonemics, or of a specific version of syntactic deep and surface structure, or of variable rules, or of other ideas that have come and gone. There is nothing hostile to an overall linguistic theory or to new discoveries in Baugh's original work, but its format allows the easy adjustment of separable parts.It is a pity that a new preface by convention loses the expression of thanks to colleagues whose suggestions made the previous edition a better book. The fifth edition has especially benefited from astute comments by Traugott Lawler and William Kretzschrnar. The author as ever is sustained by the cartoonist perspective of Carole Cable, who he trusts will find nothing in the present effort to serve as grist for her gentle satiric mill. T.C.

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