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How English Became English

A short history of a global language

Simon Horobin (Professor of English Language and Literature, University of Oxford)



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Oxford University Press
09 February 2016
The English Language is spoken by more than a billion people throughout the world. But where did English come from? And how has it evolved into the language used today? In How English Became English Simon Horobin investigates the evolution of the English language, examining how the language continues to adapt even today, as English continues to find new speakers and new uses. Engaging with contemporary concerns about correctness, Horobin considers whether such changes are improvements, or evidence of slipping standards. What is the future for the English Language? Will Standard English continue to hold sway, or are we witnessing its replacement by newly emerging Englishes?
By:   Simon Horobin (Professor of English Language and Literature University of Oxford)
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 176mm,  Width: 139mm,  Spine: 15mm
Weight:   264g
ISBN:   9780198754275
ISBN 10:   0198754272
Pages:   192
Publication Date:   09 February 2016
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active
1. What is English? ; 2. Origins ; 3. Authority ; 4. Standards ; 5. Varieties ; 6. Global English ; 7. Why do we care?

Simon Horobin is Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Magdalen College. He has written extensively on the history, structure, and uses of the English language. He is the author of Does Spelling Matter? (OUP, 2013) and a number of books on the history of English, and the language of Chaucer.

Reviews for How English Became English: A short history of a global language

Simon Horobin's marvellous How English Became English ... should be handed to every pedant you know. * Jonathan Wright, Books of the Year 2016, Catholic Herald * In this concise narrative of the history of the English language, Horobin analyzes historical context just enough to unfurl the object called 'English.' * Library Journal, starred review * A happy mixture of scholarship, clear writing, and humour * Kirkus * There's a lot of detailed information in this succinct book and it's very readable * Susan Elkin, Independent on Sunday * informative and entertaining new book * Oliver Kamm, The Times * Horobin is ... on a laudable and ... interesting mission to educate the wider public. * Faramerz Dabhoiwala, Guardian * We all have our hobbyhorses when it comes to the finer points of English grammar. Simon Horobin's witty book provides the antidote to our pedantry. * Jonathan Wright, Herald * Horobin's succinctness is impressive * Times Literary Supplement * Distilling an inexhaustible topic into 170 short pages. Horobin gives an unstuffy guide to the descent, dialects and global diversification of English. Pragmatic rather than pedantic, he eschews grammarian finger-wagging in favour of some pointers on why we still care about getting it 'right'. * Oxford Today * this book was as good as expected * The Bookbag * Horobin clearly loves the English language, but unlike many self-proclaimed language experts, he is not fearful of what the future of English may hold ... How English Became English reminds me what it was that I found so fascinating about the English language. * Jenny Hallquist, Babel *

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