Sound Change and the History of English

Paperback | July 1, 2009

byJeremy J. Smith

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This book addresses the question: why do sound changes happen, when and where they do? Jeremy Smith discusses the origins of a series of sound changes in English. He relates his arguments to larger questions about the nature of explanation in history and historical linguistics, and examinesthe interplay between sound change and social change. Drawing on the latest research in linguistics and history he shows how insights in one field illuminate the other.After the opening chapter describing the book's approach and a general theoretical framework for the study of sound-change, the author discusses problems of evidence and considers the nature of phonological processes. He then presents detailed investigations of major sound-changes from threetransitional periods: first, when English emerged as a language distinct from the other West Germanic varieties; secondly, during the transition from Old to Middle English; and thirdly during the time when Middle English evolved into Early Modern English. The book is written with minimal use of jargon and offers clear definitions of complex notions. It will appeal to all serious students of English historical linguistics, from advanced undergraduate to researcher.

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This book addresses the question: why do sound changes happen, when and where they do? Jeremy Smith discusses the origins of a series of sound changes in English. He relates his arguments to larger questions about the nature of explanation in history and historical linguistics, and examinesthe interplay between sound change and social...

Jeremy Smith is Professor of English Philology in the University of Glasgow. His publications include Essentials of Early English (second edition, 2005), An Introduction to Middle English (with Simon Horobin, 2002), and An Historical Study of English (1996). He is a contributor to The Oxford History of English edited by Lynda Mugglest...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:July 1, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199563314

ISBN - 13:9780199563319

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Table of Contents

1. On Explaining Sound Change2. On Evidence3. Phonological Approaches and Processes4. From Pre-English to Old English5. From Old to Middle English6. From Middle to Early Modern English7. On the Historiography of Sound ChangeAppendixSuggestions for Further ReadingReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

`The book is fun to read... stimulating and challenging, surely a fine addition to the excellent literature on English sound change. ' English Language and Linguistics