A History of the English Language

Richard Hogg + David Denison (editors)

Cambridge University Press 2006
A book review by Danny Yee © 2013 http://dannyreviews.com/
A History of the English Language is a dense but rewarding read for anyone who wants a step up from popular books on English. With eight chapters by specialists, it is "pitched at senior undergraduates in the main" and assumes the reader already has some acquaintance with IPA and phonetics, English grammar and syntax, sociolinguistics, British and American history, and so forth. Among other matters, it probes into the complexities of the sources and how we know, or can plausibly reconstruct, historical features.

The material is loosely based on the six volume Cambridge History of the English Language, but isn't a summary of that. It does offer a broad survey, but makes no attempt to be comprehensive and is not optimised as a reference, instead probing a few examples more deeply.

A kind of "teaser" introduction (Denison and Hogg) is followed by chapters on Phonology and Morphology (Lass), Syntax (Fischer and van der Wurff), and Vocabulary (Kastovsky), Standardisation (Nevalainen and van Ostade), Names (Coates), English in Britain (Hogg), English in North America (Finegan), and English Worldwide (Crystal). These chapters can largely stand alone, so if you want (say) a forty page academic introduction to English names, covering personal names, surnames and place names, the chapter here would be a good option.

April 2013

External links:
- buy from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
- buy from Book Depository
- share this review on Facebook or tweet it to Twitter
Related reviews:
- Richard Hogg - An Introduction to Old English
- books about the English language
- books about linguistics
- books published by Cambridge University Press
%T A History of the English Language
%E Hogg, Richard
%E Denison, David
%I Cambridge University Press
%D 2006
%O paperback, references, index
%G ISBN-13 9780521717991
%P 495pp