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By Charles Barber, Joan C. Beal, Philip A. Shaw

The place does today's English come from? This new version of the bestseller via Charles Barber tells the tale of the language from its distant ancestry to the current day. based on call for from readers, a new bankruptcy on past due smooth English has been further for this version. utilizing dozens of typical texts, together with the English of King Alfred, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Addison, the booklet tells you every little thing you must learn about the English language, the place it got here from and the place it's going to. This variation provides new fabric on English as a world language and explains the diversities among the most kinds of English all over the world. transparent causes of linguistic rules and phrases make it the correct creation for college kids on classes in English language and linguistics, and for all readers interested by language.

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Extra resources for The English Language: A Historical Introduction (Cambridge Approaches to Linguistics)

Sample text

There are also words which are quite strange to the modern reader, like neiȝede ‘approached’ and clepide ‘called’. There are familiar-looking words with unfamiliar meanings, like symfonye ‘musical instrument’, crowde ‘fiddle’, largely ‘liberally, plenteously’, thyngis ‘goods’ and for ‘because’ (in ‘for he receyued him saf’). ) and past participles ending in -n (comen, founden). In spelling, only u occurs in the passage, not v, but in Wycliffe’s time they tended to be used interchangeably, and not distributed as they are in the 1611 passage: the use of v initially and u elsewhere was a printer’s convention, which in England lasted until about 1630, but manuscripts often use the two letters indiscriminately.

And he answeringe to his fadir seide, Lo, so manye ȝeeris I serue to thee, and I brak neuere thi commaundement, thou hast neuer ȝouun a kyde to me, that I schulde ete largely with my frendis. But aftir that this thi sone, which deuouride his substaunce with hooris, cam, thou hast slayn to him a fat calf. And he seide to him, Sone, thou ert euere with me, and alle myne thingis ben thyne. Forsothe it bihofte to ete plenteously, and for to ioye: for this thi brother was deed, and lyuede aȝeyn: he peryschide, and he is founden.

The use of intonation for conveying meaning can be shown very simply by speaking the two sentences: (a) He’s going to be there? (b) He’s going to be there. In (a) we have a rising tone on the final stressed syllable, and in (b) a falling tone, and in many varieties of English this makes the difference between a question and a statement. These two are very common intonation patterns in English: (b) is used in statements and in ‘wh- questions’ (ones beginning with words like which, where and who), while (a) is used in questions which can be answered ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

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