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Tag Archives: history of the english language
One of the things I’ve been trying to do in recent years is look more at the history of the field. In the thrift store, I love finding F&SF anthologies from the 60s and 70s, in part because it’s interesting to see which names kept on going, which faded away. Often the most riveting story in a collection is from a writer whose name I’ll only see that once. In reading anthologies, I find that often one of the most revelatory parts is the introduction, less for anything said about the stories than for clues to the publishing climate at the time.
Recently in the thrift shop, I picked up a couple of paperbacks: two volumes worth of early Hugo winners, edited by Isaac Asimov. Of course I bought them. How could I not, in light of recent controversies? They’ve been an interesting read – particularly when I’m reading the first Nebula volume at the same time — and sometimes illuminating.
In A Biography of the English Language, Millward presents some of the complicated history of the English language, first talking about what a language is, along with basics of phonology and writing before moving into Indo-European, Old English (the sage of the arrival of the English, the Christianization of England, and various Viking invasions), Middle English, Early Modern English, and then the array of recent forces shaping our language: the printing press, the industrial revolution, colonization, the codification of grammar, and more.