LINGUIST List 32.1358

Fri Apr 16 2021

Books: English and Empire: Brown

Editor for this issue: Billy Dickson <>

Date: 12-Apr-2021
From: Rachel Tonkin <>
Subject: English and Empire: Brown
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Title: English and Empire
Subtitle: Literary History, Dialect, and the Digital Archive
Published: 2021
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Book URL:

Author: David West Brown
Paperback: ISBN: 9781108444217 Pages: Price: U.S. $ 35.99
Paperback: ISBN: 9781108444217 Pages: Price: U.K. £ 27.99
Paperback: ISBN: 9781108444217 Pages: Price: Europe EURO 32.67

Combining statistical modelling and archival study, English and Empire investigates how African diasporic, Chinese, and Indian characters have been voiced in British fiction and drama produced between 1768 and 1929. The analysis connects patterns of linguistic representation to changes in the imperial political economy, to evolving language ideologies that circulate in the Anglophone world, and to shifts in sociocultural anxieties that crosscut race and empire. In carrying out his investigation, David West Brown makes the case for a methodological approach that links the distant (quantitative) and close (qualitative) reading of diverse digital artefacts. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, the book will appeal to a variety of scholars and students including sociolinguists interested in historical language variation, as well as literary scholars interested in postcolonial studies and the digital humanities.

1. Introduction; 2. Literary dialect, race, and empire; 3. Corpus design; 4. An overview of data and the digital toolkit; 5. Case 1: African diasporic dialogue; 6. Case 2: Indian dialogue; 7. Case 3: Chinese dialogue; 8. The enduring power of mimicry and the politics of measurement.

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

Written In: English (eng)

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Page Updated: 16-Apr-2021