There are many questions yet to be answered about how Standard English came
into existence. The claim that it developed from a Central Midlands dialect
propagated by clerks in the Chancery, the medieval writing office of the
king, is one explanation that has dominated textbooks to date. This book
reopens the debate about the origins of Standard English, challenging
earlier accounts and revealing a far more complex and intriguing history.
An international team of fourteen specialists offer a wide-ranging
analysis, from theoretical discussions of the origin of dialects, to
detailed descriptions of the history of individual Standard English
features. The volume ranges from Middle English to the present day, and
looks at a variety of text types. It concludes that Standard English had no
one single ancestor dialect, but is the cumulative result of generations of
authoritative writing from many text types.