A social history of English by Dick Leith

By Dick Leith

A Social historical past of English is the 1st background of the English language to make use of the strategies, insights and issues of sociolinguistics. Written in a non-technical method, it takes under 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 severe Linguistic background of English Texts'
* a dialogue of difficulties serious about writing a historical past 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 overall reader.
It should be of curiosity to scholars of Sociolinguistics, English Language, background and Cultural reports.

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Moreover, some poets like Spenser and Sydney had written works that many felt were a match for any literature. And with this new-found selfconfidence came a self-conscious delight in the flamboyant manipulation of stylistic levels. We can see this in the way Shakespeare sets off the native English idiom against the polysyllabic Latin one, by associating them with different kinds of character, or different moods. Also, he dramatises such differences of vocabulary, either by juxtaposing them within the same speech, or by intensifying a dramatic moment with the most simple language.

Progress for English against the incumbent languages in these domains was often rather uneven, slow, and at times controversial, and the circumstances of its adoption were often different in each case. Inertia, the jealous guarding of ancient privileges, or feelings about the inadequacy of English delayed its advance. Occasionally even Acts of Parliament were required to support its implementation. The stage we are describing points towards one of the two major goals of standardisation: maximal variation in function.

Sermons continued to be delivered in English, although there is some evidence for French. It has been argued that most of the lesser clergy were monoglot speakers of English, and that even in the monasteries newly founded by the Normans, bilingualism, rather than French, was expected. As an institution of learning, then, the Church tended to promote fluency in more than one language, as it had done in AngloSaxon times. At the top of the social pyramid, however, Norman French was secure, with Latin, as the language of official transactions and decrees, and of diversions for the powerful: a great deal of Norman French literature was produced in England.

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