Language Anxiety: Conflict and Change in the History of English
This book looks at the ever-present anxieties associated with language change. Focusing on English from Alfred the Great to the present, Tim Machan offers a fresh perspective on the history of language. He reveals amusing and sometimes disconcerting aspects of our linguistic and social behavior and suggests that anxiety about language has sometimes allowed us to avoid the issues we really find disturbing: when speakers of English worry over grammar, sounds, or words the real source of their anxiety is often not language at all but issues like immigration or social instability. Drawing on an array of evidence from archives, literature, history, polemics, and the press, as well as centuries of legislation, Tim Machan uncovers the perennial nature of concerns about the poverty and purity of English. There has never been a time, he shows, when we weren't worried about the corruption of language and its apparent connections with educational standards, the morality of youth, the integrity of society, and the identity of our nations. This is a fascinating story, told here in consummate fashion, combining insight and anecdote, and learning with wit - a book for everyone interested in languages and the people who speak them.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
Anglophones anxiety aVected bilingual British Cambridge University Press century change and variation Chaucer codiWcation communication conXict cultural deWne deWnition diachronic dialect Dictionary diglossia discussion distinction diVerent diYcult England English Language Esperanto ethnic eVect eVorts example extra-linguistic fact forms gender global grammar grammatical gender history of English human identity identiWed immigration indigenous individuals interlanguages inXuence issues John judgements kind language change language contact language planning Language Policy language’s Latin linguistic change linguistic variation Lollard London Maori metalinguistic Middle English multilingualism narrative Native Americans non-linguistic non-standard Old English Oxford University Press oYcial perhaps phonological political pronunciation Reeve’s Tale regional variation reXect signiWcance simply social meanings sociolects sociolinguistic Spanglish speak speakers speciWc speech Standard English standard language structural Tower of Babel tradition translation United usage variation and change varieties of English Vernacular Vowel Shift warrior Webster’s Third Welsh Wgured words Wrst York Zealand