English in Modern Times
By Joan C Beal
Routledge – 2004 – 280 pages
English in Modern Times describes the development of the English language from 1700 until 1945, and argues that it is in the course of this later modern English period that the characteristics of 'modern' English evolved. This is the first undergraduate text to cover the whole of this important period, which has been called the 'Cinderella' of English historical linguistics because of its lack of representation in scholarly literature.
This book is sociohistorical in orientation, arguing that social changes in the Anglophone world need to be taken into account if we are to understand the linguistic changes that occurred during this period.
Further chapters deal with changes in vocabulary, syntax and morphology and phonology and with the attempts of lexicographers, grammarians and elocutionists to arrest and control these changes by codifying the language. Unlike many earlier histories of English, 'English in Modern Times' does not define 'English' as confined to Standard (English) English, but also considers the development of extraterritorial Englishes and non-standard varieties of British English in the Later Modern period.
English in Modern Times is a welcome and praiseworthy addition to existing scholarship on the history of English.
"It can be read with great profit."
1 Modern English and Modern Times
2 The Vocabulary of Later Modern English
3 Recording and Regulating the Lexicon: Dictionaries from Dr Johnson to the Oxford English Dictionary
4 Syntactic Change in Later Modern English
5 Grammars and Grammarians
6 Phonological Change in Later Modern English
7 Defining the Standard of Pronunciation: Pronouncing Dictionaries and the Rise of RP
8 Beyond Standard English: Varieties of English in the Later Modern Period
Joan Beal, Director, National Centre for English Cultural Tradition, University of Sheffield, UK