This practical and informative course book leads the student through the development of the language from Old English, through Middle and Early Modern English to the establishment of Standard English in the eighteenth century. At the core of the book is a series of nearly two hundred historical texts, of which more than half are reproduced in facsimile, exemplifying the progressive changes in the language. The book is firmly based upon linguistic description, with commentaries forming a series of case studies which demonstrate the evidence for language change at every level: handwriting, spelling, punctuation, vocabulary, grammar and meaning.
This third edition has been expanded to provide more guidance and background information. New sections have been added to outline the development of writing hands and provide a brief introduction to paleography. Since the publication of second edition new fonts have also become available that enable transcription exercises to be presented more accurately. An extensive and fully integrated ancillary website, including sound recordings, accompanies the third edition.
With its emphasis on primary sources and range of activities, this exciting new edition and accompanying website encourage students to start thinking critically about issues in the history of the English language.