LINGUIST List 10.1957

Sat Dec 18 1999

Sum: for Query 10.1525 History of English Textbook

Editor for this issue: Naomi Ogasawara <>


  1. Ocke-Schwen Bohn, History of English textbook

Message 1: History of English textbook

Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 13:14:38 +0000
From: Ocke-Schwen Bohn <>
Subject: History of English textbook

Some time ago (actually, quite some time ago, I apologize for the delay)
I asked for advice on a textbook that could be used for a one-semester, 
3-hour course on the history of English. 
Thanks to all those who responded: 
S. Burt
A. Faber
M. Cruz-Ferreira
E. Lavin
M. Lisecki
N. Maynor
M. McGinnis
M. Picard
I. Piller
L. Pickering
I. Plag
T. Pulju
D. Ruuskanen
S. Schaufele
C. Scott
K. Smith
P. Tan
K. Ward

The input was very helpful, particularly because many respondents 
supplied comments on their recommendations. The most frequently 
recommended textbook was
Pyles, T. & Algeo, J., 1993, The origins and 
developments of the English language: NY: HBJ (currently in its 
fourth edition, first published 1964) 
A very strong point in favor of this book is the workbook that 
accompanies it. I have used it previously and found it an excellent 
source for exercises. The one reason why I never used Pyles & Algeo 
is its structure: It covers the history of English by periods, which 
is somewhat disruptive to the way I like to present the development 
in each of the areas (phonetics & phonology, morphosyntax, lexicon) 
separately over the whole history of English. 
There were four more books that were also recommended with some 
Millward, L., 1989, A biography of the English language. 
Freeborn, D., 1992, From Old English to Standard English. 
London: MacMillan 
Barber, C., 1993, The English language: A historical introduction. 
Cambridge: CUP 
Baugh, A. C. & Cable, T., 1993, A history of the English language. 
London: Routledge (currently in its fourth edition, first published 
Another six books were recommended by one respondent each. 
Apart from Strang (1970), these are not textbooks that could be used 
for the type of course I am teaching. However, they do contain 
material which could be used to supplement a textbook. 
Strang, 1970, A history of English. London: Routledge 
Leith, D., 1998, A social history of English. London: Routledge 
Machan, & Scott, English in it social contexts. Cambridge: CUP 
Trask, R., Language change. London: Routledge 
Crystal, D., 1995, The Cambridge encyclopedia of the English laguage. 

Thanks again and godt nytaar
Ocke Bohn

Prof. Dr. Ocke-Schwen Bohn
Institut for Engelsk Filologi
Aarhus Universitet
DK-8000 Aarhus C
Phone: +45-8942-6525
Fax: +45-8942-6540
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