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Language Myths and the History of English (Oxford Studies in Sociolinguistics)

Language Myths and the History of English (Oxford Studies in Sociolinguistics) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Language Myths and the History of English aims to deconstruct the myths that are traditionally reproduced as factual accounts of the historical development of English. Using concepts and interpretive sensibilities developed in the field of sociolinguistics over the past 40 years, Richard J. Watts unearths these myths and exposes their ideological roots. His goal is not to construct an alternative discourse, but to offer alternative readings of the historical data. Watts raises the question of what we mean by a linguistic ideology, and whether any discourse--a hegemonic discourse, an alternative discourse, or even a deconstructive discourse--can ever be free of it. The book argues that a naturalized discourse is always built on a foundation of myths, which are all too easily taken as true accounts.

About the Author

Richard J. Watts is Emeritus Professor of English Linguistics at the University of Bern.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Metaphors, myths, ideologies and archives

Chapter 2: Establishing a linguistic pedigree

Chapter 3: Breaking the unbroken tradition

Chapter 4: The construction of a modern myth: Middle English as a creole

Chapter 5: Barbarians and others

Chapter 6: The myth of "greatness"

Chapter 7: Reinterpreting Swift's A Proposal for Correcting, Improving and Ascertaining the English Tongue: Challenging an embryonic modern myth

Chapter 8: Polishing the myths: The commercial side of politeness

Chapter 9: Challenging the hegemony of standard English

Chapter 10: Transforming a myth to save an archive: When polite becomes educated

Chapter 11: Commodifying English and constructing a new myth

Chapter 12: Myths, ideologies of English and the funnel view of the history of English



Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Watts, Richard J.
null, Richard J.
Linguistics | Sociolinguistics
Anthropological linguistics
Linguistics | Sociolinguistics & Anthropological Linguistics
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
14 illus.
6.1 x 9.2 x 1 in 1 lb

Related Subjects

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History and Social Science » Linguistics » General
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History and Social Science » Linguistics » Sociolinguistics
History and Social Science » Politics » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » General

Language Myths and the History of English (Oxford Studies in Sociolinguistics)
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Product details 352 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780195327618 Reviews:
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