The Cambridge History of the English Language: Volume 3, 1476–1776

This volume of the Cambridge History of the English Language covers the period 1476–1776, beginning at the time of the establishment of Caxton’s first press in England and concluding with the American Declaration of Independence, the notional birth of the first (non-insular) extraterritorial English. It encompasses three centuries which saw immense cultural change over the whole of Europe: the late middle ages, the renaissance, the reformation, the enlightenment, and the beginnings of romanticism. During this time, Middle English became Early Modern English and then developed into the early stages of indisputably ‘modern’, if somewhat old-fashioned, English. In this book, the distinguished team of six contributors traces these developments, covering orthography and punctuation, phonology and morphology, syntax, lexis and semantics, regional and social variation, and the literary language. The volume also contains a glossary of linguistic terms and an extensive bibliography.

• Covers the whole of Early Modern English, together with its Middle English origins and the beginnings of the modern language as we know it today • Spans the period from Caxton to the American Declaration of Independence, the late middle ages to the beginnings of Romanticism • The editor is a renowned historical linguist and leads a distinguished team of contributors


1. Introduction Roger Lass; 2. Orthography and punctuation Vivian Salmon; 3. Phonology and morphology Roger Lass; 4. Syntax Matti Rissanen; 5. Lexis and semantics Terttu Nevalainen; 6. Regional and social variation Manfred Görlach; 7. Literary language Sylvia Adamson; Glossary of linguistic terms; Bibliography.


‘… the fullest treatment of the language of the period available in one place to date.’ Language