Historical Sociolinguistics and Sociohistorical Linguistics

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The development of Standard English, 1300-1800: theories, descriptions, conflicts, ed. by Laura Wright, CUP 2000.

aims and scope:

There are many questions yet to be answered about how Standard English came into existence. The claim that it developed from a Central Midlands dialect propagated by clerks in the Chancery, the medieval writing office of the king, is one explanation that has dominated textbooks to date.

This book reopens the debate about the origins of Standard English, challenging earlier accounts and revealing a far more complex and  intriguing history. An international team of fourteen specialists offer a wide-ranging analysis, from theorietical discussions of the origin of dialects, to detailed descriptions of the history of individual Standard English features. The volume ranges from Middle English to the present day, and looks at a variety of text types. It concludes that Standard English had no one single ancestor dialect, but is the cumulative result of generations of authoritative writing from many text types.


Introduction: Laura Wright

Historical description and the ideology of the standard Language: Jim Milroy

Mythical strands in the ideology of prescriptivism: Richard J. watts

Rats, bats, sparrows and dogs: biology, linguistics and the nature of Standard English: Jonathan Hope

Salience, stigma and standard: Raymond Hickey

The idology of the standard and the development of Extraterritorial Englishes: Gabriella Mazzon

Metropolitan values: migration, mobility and cultural norms, London 1100-1700: Derek Keene

Standadisation and the language of early statutes: Matti Rissanen

Scientific language and spelling standardisation 1375-1550: Irma Taavitsainen

Change from above or below? Mapping the loci of linguistic change in the history of Scottish Englsh: Anneli Meurman-Solin

Adjective comparison and standardisation processes in American and British Englsih from 1620 to the present: Merja Kytö and Suzanne Romaine

The Spectator, the politics of social networks, and language standardisation in eighteenth-century England: Susan Fitzmaurice

A branching path: low vowel lengthening and its friends in the emerging standard: Roger Lass