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A history of the English language

Author: N F Blake
Publisher: New York : New York University Press, 1996.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
What is a history of the English language? To a native speaker, the answer to this question might seem obvious: the story, from beginning to end, of the language that we use every day. But a history of the English language raises the prickly question of what one means by English. Who speaks "true" English, and are these speakers British, American, Scottish, or Australian, or something else entirely? Is the history
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Genre/Form: History
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: N F Blake
ISBN: 0814712924 9780814712924 0814713130 9780814713136
OCLC Number: 34471507
Description: xv, 382 pages : maps ; 23 cm
Contents: 1. What is a History of English? --
2. Background Survey --
3. Before Alfred --
4. The First English Standard --
5. The Aftermath of the First Standard --
6. Interregnum: Fragmentation and Regrouping --
7. Political, Social and Pedagogical Background to the New Standard --
8. Language Change from 1400 to 1660 --
9. Establishing the Standard within Social Norms --
10. Emancipation, Education and Empire --
11. World Domination and Growing Variation.
Responsibility: N.F. Blake.
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Abstract:

What is a history of the English language? To a native speaker, the answer to this question might seem obvious: the story, from beginning to end, of the language that we use every day. But a history of the English language raises the prickly question of what one means by English. Who speaks "true" English, and are these speakers British, American, Scottish, or Australian, or something else entirely? Is the history of English the history of a written language, or must such an inquiry contend with the divergent dialects and accents of English speakers around the world?

In A History of the English Language, N.F. Blake abandons the traditional framework that divides history into three major periods: Old English, Middle English, and Modern English, arguing that these periods were originally chosen because of their political, as opposed to linguistic, significance. Dating the emergence of the ideal of a unified English language to the reign of King Alfred, Blake illustrates the way in which, since its origin, the concept of English has been largely a political and educational one. Detailing the influence that many parent languages - West Saxon, Latin, and French, to name a few - had on the emerging tongue, Blake brings insight into the dynamic role that other languages continue to play in shaping English.

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