This book presents the history of English from its obscure Indo-European roots to its twenty-first century position as the world's first language. It shows how English evolved in the British Isles and how it spread to the United States and through the old British empire to every corner of the world. It examines the different versions and roles of the language in every part of the globe and shows how English rose to international pre-eminence.
With approachable but impeccable scholarship fourteen experts chart the history of written and spoken English in all its rich and protean variety. Their accounts are made vivid with examples drawn from an immense range of documentary evidence including letters, diaries, and private records. They explore and explain the mixture of gradual and rapid change in the words, meanings, grammar, or pronunciation of English at different times and in different places. They examine the three-century rise of standard English and received pronunciation and consider their current status and wellbeing.
This book will appeal to everyone with a keen interest in the English language and its development.