Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

A Biography of the English Language, 3rd Edition

  • C.M. Millward
  • Mary Hayes
  • ISBN-10: 0495906417
  • ISBN-13: 9780495906414
  • 496 Pages | Hardcover
  • Previous Editions: 1996
  • COPYRIGHT: 2012 Published
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About the Product

The third edition of A BIOGRAPHY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE continues to examine the structure of language. The textbook discusses three important issues: languages and language change are systematic; the inner history of a language is profoundly affected by its outer history of political and culural events; and the English of the past has everywhere left its traces on present-day English. By uncovering the language’s past, one can better communicate with it.


  • The text provides comprehensive treatment of the life of English from its beginnings to today.

  • Chapter 1 is an excellent introduction to languge and linguistics.

  • “Inner History” and “Outer History” sections present the social and historical events that shaped English.

About the Author

C.M. Millward

PHD in linguistics and English from Brown University; taught at U of Edinburgh, Univerisite Paul Valery in Monpelllier, France, and at Huazhon U of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China; recipient of many awards including a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, a Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching, and a Humanities Foundation grant. She was a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh and was a member of many professional organizations.

Mary Hayes

Ph.D. from Univ of Iowa; now Director of Medieval Studies at the University of Mississippi.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction.
2. Phonology.
3. Writing.
4. Language Families and Indo-European Languages.
5. Old English (AD 450 - 1100).
6. Middle English (1100 - 1500).
7. Early Modern English (1500 - 1800).
8. Present-Day English (1800 - ).
9. English Around the World.

New to this edition

  • The third edition has been revised thoroughly for clarity and currency, including updated bibliography and references.
  • Two new appendices include a timeline of significant events in the development of English language, as well as a grammar review to aid study of morphology and syntax.
  • A new appendix features one passage from Boethius’ CONSOLATION OF PHILOSOPHY rendered in Old English, Middle English, Early Modern English, and Present-Day English for comparison of language through major periods of development.
  • IPA and sounds of English are now found on the text’s inside covers for easy reference.
  • Some text is keyed to workbook exercises.