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This Language, A River

English and Language Change

By K. Aaron Smith, Susan M. Kim

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Format: Paperback, 325 pages
This Language, A River is an introduction to the history of English that recognizes multiple varieties of the language in both current and historical contexts. Developed over years of undergraduate teaching, the book helps students to both grasp traditional histories of English, and also to extend and complicate those histories. Exercises throughout provide opportunities for puzzling out concepts, committing terms and data to memory, and applying ideas. A comprehensive glossary and up-to-date bibliographies help to guide further study.

Table of Contents

PrefaceChapter 1: IntroductionChapter 2: Grammar FundamentalsSection 1: Parts of SpeechSection 2: Basic Syntactic Relations for NounsSection 3: SentencesChapter 3: Before EnglishSection 1: Before EnglishSection 2: The Genetic ModelSection 3: The Proto-IE Nominal GroupSection 4: The Proto-IE Verbal GroupChapter 4: Introduction to Phonetics and the International Phonetics AlphabetSection 1: Introduction to Phonetics and the International Phonetics AlphabetSection 2: The International Phonetic AlphabetSection 3: Describing the Sounds of EnglishSection 4: Practice with IPAChapter 5: GermanicSection 1: Migration of the Indo-EuropeansSection 2: Development of GermanicSection 3: Distinctive Features of GermanicChapter 6: A Review of Four Important Terms and ConceptsChapter 7: Old EnglishSection 1: The Early External HistorySection 2: OE Orthography and PhonologySection 3: The OE Verbal GroupSection 4: The OE Nominal GroupSection 5: OE SyntaxSection 6: OE and Old NorseSection 7: OE LiteratureChapter 8: Middle EnglishSection 1: The Norman ConquestSection 2: The Reemergence of EnglishSection 3: Orthography and PhonologySection 4: The ME Nominal GroupSection 5: The ME Verbal GroupSection 6: Literature in the ME PeriodChapter 9: Early Modern EnglishSection 1: The Early Modern Period and the Age of PrintSection 2: PhonologySection 3: Morphology and SyntaxSection 4: The Early Modern English Verbal GroupSection 5: Standardization and PrescriptionChapter 10: The Modern Period and Global EnglishesSection 2: American EnglishSection 3: Global EnglishesGlossary of Terms

About the Author

K. Aaron Smith and Susan M. Kim are Professors of English at Illinois State University.


"This Language, A River is an excellent resource for the evolving History of the English Language class, which must cover grammar fundamentals and linguistics in addition to the history of English. By combining lucid explanation with concrete examples and exercises, K. Aaron Smith and Susan M. Kim have written a text that helps students navigate language change through orthography, phonology, morphology, and syntax. This approach empowers students to play with language, encouraging them to make connections between grammar and semantics, prescriptive media and imaginative literature, and cultural invention and orthography. And by dedicating a majority of their text to pre-modern Englishes, Smith and Kim help students explore these connections in the 'strange' and 'unfamiliar' roots of our language." -- Sarah Breckenridge Wright, Duquesne University "This textbook confronts head-on the problems implicit in teaching the history of English to students, many of whom have not yet met linguistics or a millennium of history of either the language or its speakers. Straightforward prose, exercises interspersed strategically (with answers at the end), definitions of new terms when they first occur (as well as in an alphabetical listing at the end), a sampling of 'minor Englishes'--altogether a well-balanced introduction to English and its history. The authors' 'pleasure ... in the ways in which [their subject] brings together so many different kinds of intellectual work' is apparent from beginning to end." -- Robert Stevick, Professor Emeritus, University of Washington "K. Aaron Smith and Susan Kim have given us an HEL textbook for the 21st century in This Language, a River. Uncompromising in their dedication to linguistic rigor, the authors never lose sight of the needs of contemporary students as they fully explain and define key terms and concepts for the study of language. At the same time, they deftly interweave the internal and external histories of English to create a coherent diachronic narrative that details political, literary, cultural, and social aspects of language change. Students of literature will appreciate the authors' use of canonical texts to illustrate points of linguistic and cultural interest along the way, while exercises throughout each chapter offer opportunities for in-class activities or homework. In all, This Language, a River should serve today's HEL students and teachers well for years to come." -- Michael Matto, Adelphi University

EAN: 9781554813629
ISBN: 155481362X
Publisher: Broadview Press Ltd
Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 centimetres
Age Range: 15+ years
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