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Roots of English
Exploring the History of Dialects


  • Date Published: October 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521863216

£ 58.00

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About the Authors
  • What is the explanation for the nature, character and evolution of the many different varieties of English in the world today? Which changes in the English language are the legacy of its origins and which are the product of novel influences in the places to which it was transported? Roots of English is a groundbreaking investigation into four dialects from parts of northern Britain out of which came the founding populations of many regions in other parts of the world. Sali Tagliamonte comprehensively describes and analyses the key features of the dialects and their implications for subsequent developments of English. Her examination of dialect features contributes substantive evidence for assessing and understanding bigger issues in sociolinguistic theory. Based on exciting new findings, the book will appeal to those interested in dialects, from the Anglophile to the syntactician.

    • Provides the first ever documentation of four little-known dialects of English
    • Offers an analysis of how dialect features work, who uses them and how often
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'English was born in England and Scotland. Over the centuries it spread from Britain to Ireland and across the Atlantic and beyond. But even in far-flung locations, the roots of English in British dialects are detectable not only in broad outline but, if you are clever enough, in all sorts of fascinating detail. And Sali Tagliamonte is clever enough. This book is a tour de force of historical dialectology.' Peter Trudgill, University of Agder

    'Tagliamonte forcefully demonstrates how the comparison of strategically located dialects in the British Isles can help understand the systematic evolution of English around the world. But she has also managed to retain the cultural and human soul of dialects by liberally incorporating applicable quotes and observations from the speakers into her rigorous comparative analysis, resulting in a pleasant, insightful read.' Walt Wolfram, William C. Friday Distinguished University Professor and Director, North Carolina Language and Life Project, North Carolina State University

    'This book delves into the 'treasure trove' of data that constitutes the 'Roots' corpus with the goal of answering questions that have long engaged dialectologists, historical linguists and sociolinguists who have not heretofore had the wherewithal to properly address them. The accessibility of Tagliamonte's prose is as impressive as the breadth of her comparative analyses - a feat that will undoubtedly draw in the wide readership that her work so richly deserves.' Karen P. Corrigan, University of Newcastle

    '… will serve as a useful resource not only for researchers on variation and change in dialects of English but also for historical linguists working on the reconstruction of language history. Tagliamonte's coupling of the historical comparative method with variationist analysis is an exciting exemplification of what might be called 'historical sociolinguistics'.' James A. Walker, English Language and Linguistics

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2012
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521863216
    • length: 270 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.55kg
    • contains: 54 b/w illus. 2 maps 19 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Dialects as a window on the past
    3. The 'Roots' archive
    4. Methods for analysis
    5. Word endings
    6. Joining sentences
    7. Time, necessity and possession
    8. Expressions
    9. Comparative sociolinguistics
    10. The legacy of British and Irish dialects.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • The Essay and the Argument: Rhetoric
  • Author

    Sali A. Tagliamonte, University of Toronto
    Sali A. Tagliamonte is a Professor of Linguistics at the University of Toronto, Canada. She has been a university level teacher since 1995 and her research focuses on variation and change in the evolution of English. Her previous publications include Analysing Sociolinguistic Variation (Cambridge University Press, 2006) and Variationist Sociolinguistics: Change, Observation, Interpretation.

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