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The English Language: A Historical Introduction (Cambridge Approaches to Linguistics) [Tapa blanda]

Charles Barber , Joan C. Beal , Philip A. Shaw


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Tapa blanda, 26 de marzo de 2009 --  
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Descripción del producto

Reseña del editor

Where does today's English come from? This new edition of the bestseller by Charles Barber tells the story of the language from its remote ancestry to the present day. In response to demand from readers, a brand new chapter on late modern English has been added for this edition. Using dozens of familiar texts, including the English of King Alfred, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Addison, the book tells you everything you need to know about the English language, where it came from and where it's going to. This edition adds new material on English as a global language and explains the differences between the main varieties of English around the world. Clear explanations of linguistic ideas and terms make it the ideal introduction for students on courses in English language and linguistics, and for all readers fascinated by language.

Descripción del libro

This new edition of the bestseller by Charles Barber tells the story of the English language from its remote ancestry to the present day. A brand new chapter on late modern English has been added and there is new material on English as a global language.

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Amazon.com: 4.3 de un máximo de 5 estrellas  11 opiniones
27 de 27 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
4.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas An excellent, if heavily technical, layman's guide 9 de diciembre de 2000
Por Jim - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda
This book is an excellent introduction to the history of the English language. As the other reviewers have noted, it's a bit top-heavy on technical linguistics, and therefore may not be suitable to everyone. But if you don't mind reading a book which could also be used as a 400-level college textbook... I think this book would appeal to any who have an interest in linguistics in general and the history on English in particular - especially if you've read other, lighter books on the topic already and you're ready to get seriously into the topic.
I fit the above category, and I loved this book. Probably the best I've read on the subject so far.
23 de 23 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Informative good read 22 de noviembre de 2001
Por K. Johnson - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda
If someone is interested in learning the origins, history, and development of the English language, then he or she will gain a lot from this book. There are many technical aspects included. It's also enjoyable. Many applied linguistic terms and areas are covered. From English's relationship to Sanskrit and other languages, to the great vowel shift explaining why English often doesn't sound the way it's spelled--difficult and illogical for students learning the language. The author went into depth about such topics as the culture of the Germanic tribes and how demographics influenced the development of the English language the way it did. The Scandinavians, French, and many others have loaded the language with with many loans words. It's a good informative read.
26 de 27 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas great introduction to history of english language 31 de agosto de 2000
Por cole - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda
My interest in linguistics began when my latin teacher began talk about past forms of english in class. I was looking through the book store to find more about what he was talking about. Many of the titles looked either too thick or too long. then i came across this title. It was thin and supposedly for beginners like me. I thought i would give it a try and purchased it. When i got home i immediatly began to read. It was getting dark by the time i put it down. I am an avid fan of fiction, and only read non fiction for the information. I usually find it boring, yet informative and long to be finished with it. But this book i found was very interesting as well as informative and i could not put it down. It introduces you first to the various symbols used to show different sound and then wastes no time plunging you right into the beginnings of the language through old, middle, and early modern english. It was easy to follow as long as you had the symbols memorized and gave a brief history of the times when the languge was at certain stages. I finished it quickly and understood most of the stuff i read. Now i feel i can step up to the next level and read some of the more complex books. This book was a good foundation for my interest in linguistics and i found no fault in it.
51 de 61 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
4.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas the connection between English and Dutch 31 de julio de 2000
Por svwersch - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda
Just some remarks from a very specific angle.
Being Dutch but living in the U.S., I usually tell my American friends that for Anglophones Dutch is the most related language (actually Frisian is even more related but that mini-language is Holland's second language, and I don't want to make things too complicated). The funny thing is that even well-educated Americans normally are not aware of this fact. Some even told me that Celtic, being the second language of the U.K., was probably more related (this book makes clear, by the way, that Celtic is related to the Germanic languages but only remotedly, as another member of the Indo-European family), or French (because of the many loan words).
Well, this book confirms what I tell my Anglophone friends. The funny thing is that I am quite convinced that the Old and even Middle English texts, which Barber quotes, are probably more comprehensible to Dutch readers than to Anglophones. Dutch remained a fully West-Germanic language but English, though at its core still very much a West-Germanic language, was heavily influenced by North Germanic (Scandinavian) and especially French, due to the invasions of Vikings and Normands. It's curious how the Old English texts use words that still are current in Dutch but (more or less) lost in modern English: "onfeng" is "ontvangen" in Dutch but became "receive" (i.e. a French loan word) in English. "Niman" is "nemen" in Dutch but "take" (Scandinavian) in modern English. "Witan" is "weten" in Dutch but became "to know" in modern English. I found endless other examples in this book ("Ic dorste" = Ik dorst (in Dutch) = I dared (in English). In fact, I guess that an old question I had can now be answered. I was always curious to know what the Anglosaxon missionaries Willibrord and Bonifatius in the 7th and 8th century spoke when they brought the Gospel to the Lowlands. Well, it seems pretty sure that they just used there own language that was still intelligible to the Low Landers (something like Dutch and Afrikaander these days: it takes a little bit of effort only to understand it). Some of the Old English texts read like a modern Dutch dialect.
I have, though, the feeling that Barber does not know much Dutch (nor Frisian). We hear something about Dutch loan words that ended up in English in later centuries. I wonder, however, whether some of the modern English words, that according to Barber have Scandinavian roots, are not just West-Germanic. Why is "give" Scandinavian, if the Dutch cognate is "geven". Same for "loose" ("los" in Dutch), "smile" ("smuilen" in Dutch, with a slightly different meaning), "call" ("kallen" is common in many Dutch dialects, meaning "to talk"), "though" (is "doch" in Dutch), "hoast" (in some English dialects = "cough", = "hoesten" in Dutch: maybe the root is not Scandinavian but just West-Germanic). By the way, it is not mentioned in this book but the sound shift from "kerk" (Dutch) to "church" does English have in common with Frisian.
Anyway, I like books of this kind. I can assure my Anglophone friends now with even more conviction that Dutch is for them the most related language though I am afraid that that fact helps Dutch more when they read Old English than Anglophones when they want to learn modern Dutch. The days of Willibrord and Bonifatius are beyond any doubt far behind us...
8 de 9 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Very good, but tough sledding for a 'casual' reader 27 de mayo de 2007
Por H. Bork - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda|Compra verificada por Amazon
This book seems like an excellent introduction to the history of English-language development. I would caution anyone who is considering this book to evaluate how technical a work they wish to read. If the annswer is 'not very' or even 'moderately,' I'd advise them to keep clear of Barber's text. He has many lengthy analyses of morphology and phonology changes of Indo-European, Proto-Germanic and Old-English words, which can be confusing or exhausting if a reader doesn't have a serious interest. (I do, but still think it's a bit dull.) My knowledge of this subject prior to reading the book was very general (i.e.-- of the 'I think the Normans invaded in 1066' type...), but I feel pretty grounded in the topic, after reading Barber's text...I'm ready to tackle Old English!

Another caveat-- Barber is British, and bases all his pronunciations on British 'Received Pronunciation' rules, which may challenge American readers--like myself--trying to puzzle out his pronunctions...and a cursory knowledge of Latin and perhaps Greek or German can really help in understanding the 'pre-historical' aspects of his argument.

A last note: an earlier reviewer has claimed that this book 'makes clear the relationship between Dutch and English.' I think he's misunderstood Barber's analysis, as Barber clearly states that English is most closely related to Anglo-Frisian, which is a branch of the West-Germanic group, but distinct from the Dutch/Old Franconian branch. The languages are hereditary, but not linear (according to Barber). This could be a niggling point, but may prejudice potential reader's to Barber.

Overall, a great (but technical) read, and thrilling to a determined student of English-language development.
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