Language Myths and the History of English

Hardcover | February 23, 2011

byRichard J. Watts

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Language Myths and the History of English aims to deconstruct the myths that are traditionally reproduced as factual accounts of the historical development of English. Using concepts and interpretive sensibilities developed in the field of sociolinguistics over the past 40 years, Richard J.Watts unearths these myths and exposes their ideological roots. His goal is not to construct an alternative discourse, but to offer alternative readings of the historical data. Watts raises the question of what we mean by a linguistic ideology, and whether any discourse - a hegemonic discourse, analternative discourse, or even a deconstructive discourse - can ever be free of it. The book argues that a naturalized discourse is always built on a foundation of myths, which are all too easily taken as true accounts.

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Language Myths and the History of English aims to deconstruct the myths that are traditionally reproduced as factual accounts of the historical development of English. Using concepts and interpretive sensibilities developed in the field of sociolinguistics over the past 40 years, Richard J.Watts unearths these myths and exposes their i...

Richard J. Watts is Emeritus Professor of English Linguistics at the University of Bern.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 6.3 × 9.29 × 1.1 inPublished:February 23, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195327608

ISBN - 13:9780195327601

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Table of Contents

Preface1. Metaphors, myths, ideologies and archives2. Establishing a linguistic pedigree3. Breaking the unbroken tradition4. The construction of a modern myth: Middle English as a creole5. Barbarians and others6. The myth of "greatness7. Reinterpreting Swift's A Proposal for Correcting, Improving and Ascertaining the English Tongue: Challenging an embryonic modern myth8. Polishing the myths: The commercial side of politeness9. Challenging the hegemony of standard English10. Transforming a myth to save an archive: When polite becomes educated11. Commodifying English and constructing a new myth12. Myths, ideologies of English and the funnel view of the history of EnglishReferencesIndex