This Language, A River

This Language, A River : English and Language Change

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This Language, A River is an introduction to the history of English that recognizes multiple varieties of the language in both current and historical contexts. Developed over years of undergraduate teaching, the book helps students to both grasp traditional histories of English, and also to extend and complicate those histories. Exercises throughout provide opportunities for puzzling out concepts, committing terms and data to memory, and applying ideas. A comprehensive glossary and up-to-date bibliographies help to guide further study.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 325 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 20.32mm | 498.95g
  • Peterborough, Canada
  • English
  • 155481362X
  • 9781554813629
  • 338,654

Back cover copy

This Language, A River is an introduction to the history of English that recognizes multiple varieties of the language in both current and historical contexts. Developed over years of undergraduate teaching, the book helps students both to grasp traditional histories of English and to extend and complicate those histories.



Exercises throughout provide opportunities for puzzling out concepts, committing terms and data to memory, and applying ideas. A comprehensive glossary and up-to-date bibliographies help to guide further study.
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Table of contents

Preface
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Grammar Fundamentals
Section 1: Parts of Speech
Section 2: Basic Syntactic Relations for Nouns
Section 3: Sentences
Chapter 3: Before English
Section 1: Before English
Section 2: The Genetic Model
Section 3: The Proto-IE Nominal Group
Section 4: The Proto-IE Verbal Group
Chapter 4: Introduction to Phonetics and the International Phonetics Alphabet
Section 1: Introduction to Phonetics and the International Phonetics Alphabet
Section 2: The International Phonetic Alphabet
Section 3: Describing the Sounds of English
Section 4: Practice with IPA
Chapter 5: Germanic
Section 1: Migration of the Indo-Europeans
Section 2: Development of Germanic
Section 3: Distinctive Features of Germanic
Chapter 6: A Review of Four Important Terms and Concepts
Chapter 7: Old English
Section 1: The Early External History
Section 2: OE Orthography and Phonology
Section 3: The OE Verbal Group
Section 4: The OE Nominal Group
Section 5: OE Syntax
Section 6: OE and Old Norse
Section 7: OE Literature
Chapter 8: Middle English
Section 1: The Norman Conquest
Section 2: The Reemergence of English
Section 3: Orthography and Phonology
Section 4: The ME Nominal Group
Section 5: The ME Verbal Group
Section 6: Literature in the ME Period
Chapter 9: Early Modern English
Section 1: The Early Modern Period and the Age of Print
Section 2: Phonology
Section 3: Morphology and Syntax
Section 4: The Early Modern English Verbal Group
Section 5: Standardization and Prescription
Chapter 10: The Modern Period and Global Englishes
Section 2: American English
Section 3: Global Englishes
Glossary of Terms
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Review quote

"This Language, A River is an excellent resource for the evolving History of the English Language class, which must cover grammar fundamentals and linguistics in addition to the history of English. By combining lucid explanation with concrete examples and exercises, K. Aaron Smith and Susan M. Kim have written a text that helps students navigate language change through orthography, phonology, morphology, and syntax. This approach empowers students to play with language, encouraging them to make connections between grammar and semantics, prescriptive media and imaginative literature, and cultural invention and orthography. And by dedicating a majority of their text to pre-modern Englishes, Smith and Kim help students explore these connections in the 'strange' and 'unfamiliar' roots of our language." -- Sarah Breckenridge Wright, Duquesne University

"This textbook confronts head-on the problems implicit in teaching the history of English to students, many of whom have not yet met linguistics or a millennium of history of either the language or its speakers. Straightforward prose, exercises interspersed strategically (with answers at the end), definitions of new terms when they first occur (as well as in an alphabetical listing at the end), a sampling of 'minor Englishes'--altogether a well-balanced introduction to English and its history. The authors' 'pleasure ... in the ways in which [their subject] brings together so many different kinds of intellectual work' is apparent from beginning to end." -- Robert Stevick, Professor Emeritus, University of Washington

"K. Aaron Smith and Susan Kim have given us an HEL textbook for the 21st century in This Language, A River. Uncompromising in their dedication to linguistic rigor, the authors never lose sight of the needs of contemporary students as they fully explain and define key terms and concepts for the study of language. At the same time, they deftly interweave the internal and external histories of English to create a coherent diachronic narrative that details political, literary, cultural, and social aspects of language change. Students of literature will appreciate the authors' use of canonical texts to illustrate points of linguistic and cultural interest along the way, while exercises throughout each chapter offer opportunities for in-class activities or homework. In all, This Language, A River should serve today's HEL students and teachers well for years to come." -- Michael Matto, Adelphi University
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About K. Aaron Smith

K. Aaron Smith and Susan M. Kim are Professors of English at Illinois State University.
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Rating details

6 ratings
3.83 out of 5 stars
5 17% (1)
4 50% (3)
3 33% (2)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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