LINGUIST List 21.3315

Tue Aug 17 2010

Books: Sociolinguistics/Historical Linguistics: Trask

Editor for this issue: Maria Moreno-Rollins <>

        1.    Daniel Davies, Why Do Languages Change?: Trask

Message 1: Why Do Languages Change?: Trask
Date: 11-Aug-2010
From: Daniel Davies <>
Subject: Why Do Languages Change?: Trask
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Title: Why Do Languages Change? Published: 2010 Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Book URL:

Author: Larry Trask Electronic: ISBN: 9780511763878 Pages: Price: U.S. $ 22.00
Hardback: ISBN: 9780521838023 Pages: 210 Price: U.K. £ 50.00
Paperback: ISBN: 9780521546935 Pages: 210 Price: U.K. £ 15.99

The first recorded English name for the make-up we now call blusher waspaint, in 1660. In the 1700s a new word, rouge, displaced paint, and remainedin standard usage for around two centuries. Then, in 1965, an advertisementcoined a new word for the product: blusher. Each generation speaks a littledifferently, and every language is constantly changing. It is not only wordsthat change, every aspect of a language changes over time - pronunciation,word-meanings and grammar. Packed with fascinating examples of changesin the English language over time, this entertaining book explores the origin ofwords and place names, the differences between British and AmericanEnglish, and the apparent eccentricities of the English spelling system.Amusingly written yet deeply instructive, it will be enjoyed by anyoneinvolved in studying the English language and its history, as well as anyoneinterested in how and why languages change.

- No prior knowledge of the subject is required- Includes examples from many languages with primary attention given tochanges in English- Each chapter is sufficiently independent of the others to be read on its own


1. How do languages change?;2. Why are languages always changing?;3. Where do words come from?;4. Skunk-Leek - my kind of town: what's in a name?;5. Where does English come from?;6. Why is American English different from British English?;7. Why is English spelling so eccentric?;8. Which is the oldest language?


'Clear, sensible and stimulating ... a fine memorial to the late Larry Trask.This book deserves to succeed as a splendid introductory text for anyoneinterested in language change.' Jeremy J. Smith, University of Glasgow

'Trask's enthusiasm and learning are obvious ... will give its readers moreenjoyment than many other volumes on the subject ...' Times LiterarySupplement

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics                             Sociolinguistics
Subject Language(s): English (eng)
Written In: English (eng )

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Page Updated: 17-Aug-2010