By Dick Leith
A Social background of English is the 1st background of the English language to make use of the recommendations, insights and issues of sociolinguistics. Written in a non-technical approach, it takes into consideration standardization, pidginization, bi- and multilingualism, the problems of language upkeep and language loyalty, and linguistic variation.
This new version has been absolutely revised. Additions contain: * new fabric approximately 'New Englishes' around the world
* a brand new bankruptcy entitled 'A serious Linguistic background of English Texts'
* a dialogue of difficulties excited by writing a heritage of English
All phrases and ideas are defined as they're brought, and linguistic examples are selected for his or her accessibility and intelligibility to the final reader.
It could be of curiosity to scholars of Sociolinguistics, English Language, historical past and Cultural reviews.
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Extra resources for A social history of English
Chaucer’s norm was not the norm elsewhere, so his copyists could not appreciate his attempt at deviation. In the course of the sixteenth century, the growing sense of a literary norm can be seen by the numerous attempts to represent the speech of foreigners, the linguistic characteristics of Welsh, Scottish, and Irish people, and the speakers of other dialects of English. It is now that we begin to see the social stereotyping of such speakers. Increasingly, they play the role of buffoon or boor.
This stage Kentish, moreover, was known and appreciated by the playwright’s London audience, who must have seen the point of the stereotype. Such literary practices reflect the growing awareness of a dominant variety in the course of the sixteenth century. By then, attempts were being made to define it. But these attempts were supplemented by a more general interest in what could be classed as the ‘best’ English, and not only the best literary English. So while it might be appropriate here to suggest a stage of explicit acceptance, we must not forget that it was only a small minority of educated, courtly people who were in the business of defining it.
As we shall see, early phoneticians were already noticing discrepancies between sound and spellings, which were prompting them to comment; but the interest in pronunciation may reflect uncertainties about usage, itself suggestive of extensive variation. In the absence of other guides or models, an ideal or norm of spoken usage has to be anchored to a particular social group. It was a phonetician, Hart, who did this most clearly. In three works (1551, 1569, 1570) he mentions the ‘learned’ and ‘literate’ elements, and this theme is renewed during the following century by Price (1665) and Coles (1674).
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