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The English Language: A Very Short Introduction

Simon Horobin



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Oxford University Press
08 February 2018
Language: history & general works; linguistics
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 this Very Short Introduction Simon Horobin investigates how we have arrived at the English we know today, and celebrates the way new speakers and new uses mean that it continues to adapt. 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 we are witnessing its replacement by newly emerging Englishes?

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
By:   Simon Horobin
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 175mm,  Width: 113mm,  Spine: 10mm
Weight:   155g
ISBN:   9780198709251
ISBN 10:   0198709250
Series:   Very Short Introductions
Pages:   176
Publication Date:   08 February 2018
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

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 How English Became English (OUP, 2016), Does Spelling Matter? (OUP, 2013), and books on the history of English, and the language of Chaucer.

Reviews for The English Language: A Very Short Introduction

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 * this book was as good as expected * The Bookbag * 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 * Horobin's succinctness is impressive * Times Literary Supplement * 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 is ... on a laudable and ... interesting mission to educate the wider public. * Faramerz Dabhoiwala, Guardian * informative and entertaining new book * Oliver Kamm, The Times * There's a lot of detailed information in this succinct book and it's very readable * Susan Elkin, Independent on Sunday * A happy mixture of scholarship, clear writing, and humour * Kirkus * 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 * Review from previous edition 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 *

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