A Social History of English by Dick Leith

By Dick Leith

A Social background of English is the 1st background of the English language to make use of the options, insights and matters of sociolinguistics. Written in a non-technical manner, it takes into consideration standardization, pidginization, bi- and multilingualism, the problems of language upkeep and language loyalty, and linguistic variation.
This re-creation has been totally revised. Additions contain: * new fabric approximately 'New Englishes' around the world
* a brand new bankruptcy entitled 'A serious Linguistic background of English Texts'
* a dialogue of difficulties curious about writing a heritage of English
All phrases and ideas are defined as they're brought, and linguistic examples are selected for his or her accessibility and intelligibility to the final reader.
It can be of curiosity to scholars of Sociolinguistics, English Language, heritage and Cultural reports.

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Sample text

Tooth of time’ is native; ‘razure of oblivion’, latinate. But when it is Mariana’s turn to plead for Angelo’s life, a key moment in the play, every word is from the AngloSaxon: ‘O my dear lord, /I crave no other, nor no better man’ (V. i. 428–9). The power of the Anglo-Saxon tradition can also be felt in another domain, that of religion. Protestantism gave the English monarchy a further chance to assert political autonomy by appropriating the Church, which was re-constructed as a specifically ‘English’ institution with English, appropriately enough, its language.

But the West Saxon dynasty itself was fragile. After further Scandinavian invasions and depredations had brought a Danish king, Cnut, to the English throne, another foreign dynasty was to be imposed on England; Scandinavian in origin, but speaking another language. THE NORMANS The Viking adventurers who settled in Normandy in northern France during the early tenth century were also baptised and ceded territory like their counterparts in England. Again, they did not impose their oral vernacular, but were gradually assimilated to the customs and language of the more centralised lands they colonised.

Such a wide functional range engendered further self-consciousness among writers of English, and enhanced the status of the language. The displacement of Latin as the automatic language of scholarship was part of a wider process, the extension of English in education. In considering the roles of language in education, we need to distinguish between languages that are taught, and those that function as media of learning. In the Middle Ages, Latin had been both a taught language and the medium of instruction in the universities.

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