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Preface

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 September 2012

Richard Hogg
Affiliation:
Smith Professor of Language and Medieval English, University of Manchester
David Denison
Affiliation:
Professor of English Linguistics, University of Manchester
Richard Hogg
Affiliation:
University of Manchester
David Denison
Affiliation:
University of Manchester
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Summary

Who is this book written for? There are already so many books on the history of English, both large and small, that another one might at first sight seem otiose, redundant and unnecessary. But one of the beauties of the language is its ability to show continuous change and flexibility while in some sense remaining the same. And if that is true of the language, it is also true of the study of the language, whether undertaken for strictly academic purposes or not. This book is pitched at senior undergraduates in the main, though we trust that the general reader will also find in it much that is enlightening and enjoyable. Our justification for this work, then, is that knowledge of the history of English is a part of our common culture which needs – and repays – constant renewal.

But there is more to it than that. There are indeed many good existing accounts, including, in particular, Barbara Strang's first-class A History of English (1970). In the thirty-five years since its publication, the language has continued to change, and scholarship has advanced along several different paths. Most obviously, the advent of computerised material has enabled us to analyse and hence understand much material which was previously impractical for the individual scholar to assimilate. Secondly, the (very different) Chomskyan and Labovian revolutions in linguistics, both in their infancy in 1970, have had repercussions in many domains relevant to this book.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2006

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  • Preface
    • By Richard Hogg, Smith Professor of Language and Medieval English, University of Manchester, David Denison, Professor of English Linguistics, University of Manchester
  • Edited by Richard Hogg, University of Manchester, David Denison, University of Manchester
  • Book: A History of the English Language
  • Online publication: 05 September 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511791154.001
Available formats
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  • Preface
    • By Richard Hogg, Smith Professor of Language and Medieval English, University of Manchester, David Denison, Professor of English Linguistics, University of Manchester
  • Edited by Richard Hogg, University of Manchester, David Denison, University of Manchester
  • Book: A History of the English Language
  • Online publication: 05 September 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511791154.001
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Preface
    • By Richard Hogg, Smith Professor of Language and Medieval English, University of Manchester, David Denison, Professor of English Linguistics, University of Manchester
  • Edited by Richard Hogg, University of Manchester, David Denison, University of Manchester
  • Book: A History of the English Language
  • Online publication: 05 September 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511791154.001
Available formats
×