This book provides the fullest account ever published of the external influences on English during the first thousand years of its formation. In doing so it makes profound contributions to the history of English and of western culture more generally.
English is a Germanic language but altogether different from the other languages of that family. Professor Miller shows how and why the Anglo-Saxons began to borrow and adapt words from Latin and Greek. He provides detailed case studies of the processes by which several hundred of them entered English. He also considers why several centuries later the process of importation was renewed and accelerated. He describes the effects of English contacts with the Celts, Vikings, and French, and the ways in which these altered the language's morphological and syntactic structure. He shows how loanwords from French, for example, not only increased the richness of English derivation but resulted in a complex competition between native and borrowed suffixes.
Gary Miller combines historical, cultural, and linguistic perspectives. His scholarly, readable, and always fascinating account will be of enduring value to everyone interested in the history of English.