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The Origins and Development of the English Language

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  154 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Updated to reflect current research and rewritten to further enhance the clarity of presentation, the fifth edition of this best-seller continues to take a linguistic-analysis approach as well and focus on the facts of language rather than theoretical approaches.
Hardcover, 5th edition, 384 pages
Published February 25th 2004 by Wadsworth Publishing Company (first published 1964)
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Jan 31, 2015 Jerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is an occasional meme going around about how so many things we refer to have lost all mooring from any possible meaning. Who today knows how black pitch is, or has personally heard a broken record?

But this is simply the story of language. If you write with a pen you are figuratively writing with a feather only because our ancestors once did so literally: The word comes from the Latin penna, that is, a feather.

If you are interested specifically in how words are extended or refined to cover
Angie Diasanaangie
Jan 17, 2015 Angie Diasanaangie marked it as to-read
I think this book could greatly cater the assigned topic intended for my report. Please allow me to open this page, thank you so much!
Mar 15, 2014 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a thorough (as in for those very interested in delving into great detail) history of the English language (starting from the beginning! I wouldn't recommend this book to the average person who just wants to know a little bit about the history of the English language (there are easier, less academically dense texts for that). It provides detailed explanations of how language evolved and influences that shaped the language. Perfect for my Linguistics students.
Only read assigned readings/chapters in the book. Class was a little drawing, but it was interesting to learn about the English language's deep and rich history. Helped me able to find the right history setting for one of my own books that I plan to work on soon, as well as assured me I am using the proper languages for it's regions and time setting. Good text.
Apr 26, 2016 Lindsay rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: linguaphiles
I used this as a textbook for Historical Linguistics, and usually I never think of textbooks as books. However, after returning it for the umpteenth time, I realized how much I cherish it as a reference as well as to satiate any clamoring for phonetics, Chaucer, and linguistic trends, so it's earned a spot here on the ol' 'Reads list.
Even though this is a textbook I will keep it in my library forever. It has some incredibly interesting information on the etymology of Modern English words, as well as a detailed history of English and the other Germanic languages and the differences between Germanic and other Indo-European languages.
May 14, 2012 Ladygwen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hillsdale, 2012
Algeo tried hard to make a short comprehensive guide to an intensely broad subject matter- the history of the English language. It had some very dry and complicated sections on grammar in various periods of English, but also some amusing attitude towards the end. Overall it was really helpful.
Lizzie Jones
May 11, 2016 Lizzie Jones rated it really liked it
This is by far the most interesting textbook I ever read during my undergrad. I loved it so much that I kept it and pull it off the shelf every so often to read though a chapter or two. If you're interested in linguistics, you should absolutely own this book.
Seth Holler
Nov 06, 2014 Seth Holler marked it as to-read
Linguistics class postponed.
Jun 15, 2007 secondwomn rated it liked it
read for my history & structure of the english language class. somewhat technical and highly informative. not a book to pick up casually. but if you want to teach yourself about the english language, it's great stuff.
Oct 30, 2009 Heather rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: English History buffs
Recommended to Heather by: required textbook
Shelves: own, history, language
Some of the parts of this textbook were a bit heady, but overall it was pretty straightforward and very interesting. We even had to solve language problems, which I actually found fun and intriguing.
Aug 03, 2011 Bill added it
Textbook for an interesting college class - the parts detailing the Great Vowel Shift and the old English of Chaucer I remember were very interesting and fun.
Nov 30, 2012 Ren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Informative,but confusing at the same time. I wouldn't advise using this as your only resource when studying the history of the English language.
Apr 26, 2012 Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
I used this book for my History of the English Language class. It's very in-depth and the accompanying workbook helps solidify the concepts.
Emily Wells
It was like reading a text book, yes it had some interesting parts to it but it was still like reading a textbook.
Maja  (The Rambling Readerista)
diachronical view of the English language. sometimes hard to follow the writing style, kind of boring.
This class was the History of the English Language. Classmates used to tell each other, see you in HEL.
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