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The Oxford History of English Paperback – December 5, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0199544394 ISBN-10: 0199544395

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 498 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (December 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199544395
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199544394
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 1.1 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,290,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

`Review from previous edition Up-to-date, culturally sensitive, detailed and rigorous. Yet also, true to Emerson's philosophy, conveys some of the lustre, excitement and agony of the past.' Henry Hitchings, New Statesman

`a fascinating book' Michael Kerrigan, The Scotsman

About the Author


Dr Lynda Mugglestone is a University Lecturer in English and a Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford. She has published widely on language in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. recent work includes Lexicography and the OED. Pioneers in the Untrodden Forest (Oxford University Press, 2002), 'Talking Proper'. The Rise of Accent as Social Symbol 2nd edn. (Oxford University Press, 2003), and Lost for Words. The Hidden History of the Oxford English Dictionary (Yale University Press, 2004).

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By James Rovira on March 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent overview of the history of the English language. It is, however, an anthology of essays about the topic, not a textbook, so does not have built-in helps for learning the phonetic alphabet or for learning elements of middle English. It's not an equivalent to Baugh and Cable, but does represent the latest scholarship on the history of the English language. Its only real defect is a lack of focused discussion on the development of American English.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lindsay on April 26, 2011
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This is a thoroughly good book. I would definitely recommend having a background in grammar and phonology though. Like the previous reviewer, I am in a masters program for TESOL and Applied Linguistics.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By irishhighlander on April 3, 2010
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I ordered this textbook in order to complete my Masters program in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and Applied Linguistics. It covers all that I need. Good for English or History students
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael I. on August 24, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Oxford University Press is a publisher surviving on a glut of private endowment and public largesse, which puts it in an enviable place among the big imprints treading water. It chooses its titles based on scholarship, rather than popularity. They don't chase trends. THE OXFORD HISTORY OF ENGLISH (OHE) is certainly definitive, but the book's academic tone is not designed for a general audience. Most of the essays leave the reader skipping large sections, sections riddles with grammatical jargon and paleo-linguistics. The book falls into that gray, consternating area between academia and popular non-fiction. It's never a good place to be, and ultimately the book tilts more toward the academic than the fluent, engaging prose the common reader enjoys.

The subject is a fascinating one - how did the language of Paris Hilton and John Milton come to be, how did the Lingua Franca of pre-Latin Brits evolve to accommodate terms like "Internet" and "selfie." The OHE is a deep-dive into the realm. So much of the history of English is pre-history or the ponderous debate about the roots of The Great Vowel Shift. Chasing down unresolvable theories challenges the attention span. Fourteen essays compose this 500 page book and nine of them are dry husks of jargon. It's not until the nineteenth century that the research takes off. "English in the Nineteenth Century" by the editor, Lynda Mugglestone, and "Into the Twenty-First Century" by David Crystal stand apart, avoiding pedantic drollery.

Ours is a language coded with empire, invasion, imports and exports. It has a character and a flavor that allow for constant evolution. We've consolidated dialects, dispensed with needless terms. Understanding how we got here requires us to understand Old English, Middle English, and Early Modern English.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By dhydavid on July 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The articles in this book approach the history of English more from a sociolinguistic perspective, rather than from a purely technical historical linguistic perspective. I find it more fascinating.
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