The Origins and Development Book

Topics: English language, History of the English language, Middle English Pages: 604 (164388 words) Published: March 20, 2013
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John Algeo
Based on the original work of
Thomas Pyles
Australia • Brazil • Japan • Korea • Mexico • Singapore • Spain • United Kingdom • United States The Origins and
Development of the English
Language: Sixth Edition
John Algeo
Publisher: Michael Rosenberg
Development Editor: Joan
Assistant Editor: Megan Garvey
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Image: Mandy Groszko
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Cover Image: Kobal Collection
Art Archive collection Dagli Orti
Prayer with illuminated border,
from c. 1480 Flemish manuscript
Book of Hours of Philippe
de Conrault, The Art Archive/
Bodleian Library Oxford
Compositor: Pre-Press PMG
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ISBN-13: 978-1-4282-3145-0
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The Origins and Development of the English Language, Sixth Edition, continues to focus on the facts of language rather than on any of the various contemporary theoretical approaches to the study of those facts. The presentation is that of fairly traditional grammar and philology, so as not to require students to master a new theoretical approach at the same time they are exploring the intricacies of language history.

The focus of the book is on the internal history of the English language: its sounds, grammar, and word stock. That linguistic history is, however, set against the social and cultural background of the changing times. The first three chapters are introductory, treating language in general as well as the pronunciation and orthography of present-day English. The succeeding central six chapters are the heart of the book, tracing the history of the language from prehistoric Indo-European days through Old English, Middle English, and early Modern English up to the present time. The final three chapters deal with vocabulary—the meaning, making, and borrowing of words.

This sixth edition of a book Thomas Pyles wrote some forty-five years ago preserves the outline, emphasis, and aims of the original, as all earlier editions have. The entire book has, however, been revised for helpfulness to students and ease of reading. The...

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