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A History of the English Language
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A History of the English Language

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  527 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews

Comprehensive and balanced, this classic exploration of the history of the English language combines internal linguistic history and external cultural historyâfrom the Middle Ages to the present. Emphasis is on the political, social and cultural forces that affect language. Reflects the latest trends and statistics of the last ten years in a revised and updated chapter 1

Hardcover, 4th, 464 pages
Published December 18th 1992 by Prentice Hall College Div (first published 1935)
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Jul 31, 2007 Alina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who speaks English
This book cycles through the entire history of the English language, from the proto-Indo European start to its modern day variations. For everyone who thinks that our language is as simple as "English is a mix of German and French," you have SO much to learn. A favorite non-fiction.
Jun 11, 2014 Clara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic, highly detailed overview of the history of the English language in which I learned some surprising things, such as:

--"they," "their," and "them," our plural pronouns, were a Scandinavian (specifically Danish) import. Old English conjugated them as "hie," "hiera," "him."

--In fact, the Danish invasions of England prior to the Norman Conquest probably contributed a lot more to our loss of inflection (word endings) than the French influence on our language ever did. While we "bo
Oct 03, 2015 Sara rated it liked it
This was a good book; I wish I had the latest edition rather than this edition from the early 1990's. The language has changed since the introduction of the Internet and texting which wasn't an issue at the time this version came out. I think I may have had this version since it was new, though. I just now got around to reading it in it's entirety.

Very informative. Some chapters were more interesting than others. I liked the chapters on Old English and also on American English.

Always something t
Jessica Hatchigan
Read this for a college course (and basically had to memorize the contents). It was one of my most challenging - and rewarding - classes. Baugh shows how language is elastic, bending and changing and morphing as time, history and cultural influences force and/or influence written and verbal exchanges.
Erin Riggio
Sep 27, 2007 Erin Riggio rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: word nerds
I read this in a college class and really enjoyed it. It might be a bit dry to read in its entirety, but pick it up for some fascinating anecdotes about the history of our language.
I'm putting this on here because it may be one of the first honest-to-god textbooks that I actually read all the way through. It feels like an accomplishment.
Dec 01, 2012 Christina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An incredibly easy-to-read but detailed account of the whole history of the English language, divided into three parts: Old, Middle, and Modern English.
May 26, 2015 Holly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book three times in one semester as an undergrad in the 1980s for a really hard class. I LOVED IT--both the class and the book.
George King
May 06, 2011 George King rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My college text--and still the standard by which others must be measured. The complexity of the English language is a thing of beauty.
Clay Kallam
As textbooks go, this was a pretty good read -- though I confess I skipped the lists of words borrowed from specific languages or areas.

"A History of the English Language" is also a bit dated, but really, not much has changed in terms of the development of the language in recent decades. And really what you're reading this book is the history of English, which goes back to the 5th century AD or so.

I was put off a bit by the odd characters used to designate certain sounds, as I didn't know what t
Jun 28, 2009 Sophie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference
It gives a really in-depth view of all the cultural and political influences that shaped the English language to what it is today. Kind of nice to read if you have the time and interest for these kind of things.
Ashley Holstrom
One of the few history books I've actually enjoyed. It starts at the very beginning of English language and goes up to today-ish and English in America. A wonderful read.
Erica Walsh
Dec 14, 2007 Erica Walsh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Leaners...
Shelves: fantastic-reads
Totally a book I had to read for college - but if you ever said, "Why is this a word?" then this book is fun. And if you are nerdy - this book is fun.
English language,linguistics
May 20, 2016 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: assigned
If, for any reason, you find yourself wanting or needing to read Baugh and Cable's A History of the English Language, I'd advise you against using the Sixth Edition. It blurs details that earlier editions are much more clear about, re-arranges chapters that were better organized before, and since it doesn't address really recent evolutions in the language, you really aren't missing anything by using an earlier, clearer edition. The sixth one just isn't great.
Jan 23, 2015 Jay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school, own
This is one of the few textbooks that I have read in its entirety in a long time. It was fantastic, though, offering an expansive and entertaining look at just what the title describes, a history of the English language from early Germanic roots through modern dialogues.
May 24, 2016 Ibrahim marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, english
p. 45, The first people in England about whose language we have definite knowledge are the Celts .. Celtic was probably the first Indo-European tongue to be spoken in England.
Well I didn't read the whole book,however, I managed to pass my exam so now I'm very silly :P
Fachrurozy Dientara
Aug 22, 2014 Fachrurozy Dientara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Fachrurozy by: Lecturer
Buku ini bikin kepala keputer puter walaupun isinya berguna (untuk kegiatan kuliah). Bahsa yang digunakan diluar kebiasaan saya. Tapi dilain sisi isi buku ini emang menarik buat di baca buat kamu yg curious tentang sejarah bahasa inggris atau emang kamu mahasiswa sastra inggris
Jun 07, 2008 Nathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had this as a textbook for my all-time favorite class at university. Its the most in depth examination of the English language that I have seen. It's equal parts history and linguistics and it's thoroughly readable.
Oct 27, 2014 Lauren rated it really liked it
Would have given it five stars except for several sections that went over my head and out of my reach. Otherwise it was instructive and quite enjoyable.
Apr 05, 2007 Chris rated it really liked it
I loved my history of the English Language class, and this books is pretty much the classic of how our crazy mother tongue got to be the way it is today.
Sep 24, 2008 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most consistently interesting and engaging "textbook" I've had to read. History and linguistics meshed together.
It's quite fun reading but sometimes I need to read the same chapter a few times to get a deeper understanding.
Jun 15, 2007 h rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
read for my history & structure of the english language class. easy to follow, which is a good quality in a textbook.
Mar 21, 2016 sologdin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, linguistics
good stuff. suitable for an undergraduate course. works through the basic periodizations with rigor.
Sep 11, 2008 Lindsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Call me a dork, but I had more fun reading this textbook than any other textbook I've been required to read.
Aug 13, 2010 Crystal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Textbook for my, obviously, college History of English class. A language lover, I found it fascinating.
I may come back to this later. It was interesting, I just had a hard time staying engaged.
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Dr. Albert Croll Baugh, College 1912; Ph.D. English, 1916; and Honorary Doctorate in 1961, Chaired the University of Pennsylvania Department of English, and received many accolades, including the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Dr. Baugh's scholarship is still much in use at the Penn Library—from his 1935 study of the history of the English language to his 1968 bibliography of Chaucer st
More about Albert C. Baugh...

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