Inventing English: A Portable History of the Language, Revised and Expanded Edition (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Did you know that the way children mispronounce words can change our language? That lexicographers' lives are full of dramatic struggles? That you can kind of understand Old Norse? Whether you're just curious or a budding diachronic linguist, this book will bring you a new appreciation of the words we use every day. - Some bookseller who never sent in her rec tag, ugh, oh crap it's me... — Northshire Staff


Seth Lerer tells a masterful history of the English language from the age of Beowulf to the rap of Eminem. Many have written about the evolution of grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary, but only Lerer situates these developments within the larger history of English, America, and literature. This edition features a new chapter on the influence of biblical translation and an epilogue on the relationship of English speech to writing. A unique blend of historical and personal narrative, Inventing English is the surprising tale of a language that is as dynamic as the people to whom it belongs.

About the Author

Seth Lerer is Distinguished Professor of Literature and the former Dean of Arts and Humanities at the University of California, San Diego. He is known nationally for his audio and videotape series, The History of the English Language, for the Teaching Company.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780231174473
ISBN-10: 0231174470
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication Date: August 25th, 2015
Pages: 352
Language: English