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Cover of "History of the English Language" featuring a color-blocked background
April 2014
John Benjamins Publishing Company

College or Unit:

A History of the English Language

Revised Edition
Elly van Gelderen

The English language in its complex shapes and forms changes fast. This thoroughly revised edition has been refreshed with current examples of change and has been updated regarding archeological research. Most suggestions brought up by users and reviewers have been incorporated, for instance, a family tree for Germanic has been added; Celtic influence is highlighted much more; there is more on the origin of Chancery English; and internal and external change are discussed in much greater detail. The philosophy of the revised book remains the same with an emphasis on the linguistic history and on using authentic texts. The audience remains undergraduates and beginning graduates. The goals of the class and the book are to come to recognize English from various time periods; to be able to read each stage with a glossary; to get an understanding of typical language change, internal and external; and to understand something about language typology through the emphasis on the change from synthetic to analytic.


Elly van Gelderen is a Regents’ Professor of English at Arizona State University.