The Life and Times of the English Language: An Unauthorized Biography



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As speakers of English, we are the fortunate inheritors of a language that now spans the globe as a language for the professions. For this reason, speakers of English have a distinct advantage as professionals and consumers. Products and services are promoted and delivered in English. We can travel world-wide in English, at least to a limited degree, and we can be hired co work in English, our native or adopted language, in many parts of the world as well.

It is therefore a bit surprising that we speakers of English pay so little attention to the intri­cacies and history of our language, once just a dialect spoken by farmers and seafarers near the southern and eastern shores of the North Sea. Compared with other surviving European languages, all of which have changed and evolved as natural languages always do, English has been through quite a journey, enriching and diversifying itself along the way.

With all of my students of the history of the English language, and especially my under­graduates at Coastal Carolina University, I have tried to present a representative overview, while focussing on how our language today contains secrets of our linguistic and cultural past and at the same time blends cultural concerns and linguistic principles to create tomorrow's language. It is this sociocultural dimension of language that I wish to pursue further here.


This series was made possible through the generous support of HTC, the Horry Telephone Cooperative, Inc.


Coastal Carolina University--Periodicals;Lecture--Series;Linguistics;Nagle, Stephen J., 1948-


Copyright © Coastal Carolina University. For more information contact University Archives at Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC 29526.


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The Life and Times of the English Language: An Unauthorized Biography