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Letter Writing and Language Change
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Book description

Letter Writing and Language Change outlines the historical sociolinguistic value of letter analysis, both in theory and practice. The chapters in this volume make use of insights from all three 'Waves of Variation Studies', and many of them, either implicitly or explicitly, look at specific aspects of the language of the letter writers in an effort to discover how those writers position themselves and how they attempt, consciously or unconsciously, to construct social identities. The letters are largely from people in the lower strata of social structure, either to addressees of the same social status or of a higher status. In this sense the question of the use of 'standard' and/or 'nonstandard' varieties of English is in the forefront of the contributors' interest. Ultimately, the studies challenge the assumption that there is only one 'legitimate' and homogenous form of English or of any other language.

Reviews

‘Letter Writing and Language Change highlights the rich variety of approaches that letters can offer for the study of language variation and change across time, space and the linguistic spectrum.'

Terttu Nevalainen - University of Helsinki

‘A highly anticipated key publication on letter writing and language standardization, bringing together an impressive selection of contributors and a stellar editorial team. Definitely a must-read for any historical sociolinguist.'

Wim Vandenbussche - Vrije Universiteit Brussel

'Overall, the edited collection makes some significant strides in uncovering multiple histories of a given language, which should inspire similar studies based on personal documents like letters and diaries in other languages too. Hence, the collection can be easily used as a textbook in any advanced sociolinguistics class or a graduate level seminar on language change over time, especially for those interested in letter data for historical studies of any language.'

Md Mijanur Rahman Source: LINGUIST List

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