A Brief History of the English Language

English is descended from an ancient parent language now called Proto-Indo-European, spoken about 5,000 years ago. There are no written records of this ancient language, but we know that it existed because of the many related languages descended from it. Linguists (language scientists) have learned many things about this original ancestor language by studying the daughter languages that evolved from it. Other Indo-European (IE) languages related to English include the Greek dialects; Latin and its descendants Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese; Persian (Farsi) spoken in Iran; Sanskrit, the written language of ancient India and its many descendants, two of which are Hindi, spoken in India, and Urdu, the national language of Pakistan; several Balto-Slavic languages such as Lithuanian, Russian, Polish, Czech, Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian; the Celtic branch of languages; Hittite; and others. More closely related to English are the languages of the Germanic branch of Indo-European; these include English, Dutch, German, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and others.

196English was not the original language of England. In fact, three languages or language groups preceded English as spoken languages in the British Isles before the Anglo-Saxons began helping themselves to island real estate. The original language of the British Isles is not known, but archaeological investigations verify that the British Isles were thoroughly inhabited before the arrival of the Celts (Baugh and Cable 43-44).

Sometime during the millennium before Christ, Celtic peoples began settling the British Isles. Some suggest it was early in that millennium (Janeddy, Poletto, and Weldon 335), while others suggest it was later in the millennium; so for averages’ sake, let us accord with other estimates near the middle of the first millennium B.C. (Haywood 25). The Celtic languages make up the Celtic branch of Indo-European and are, therefore, distantly related to English. Of the various Celtic languages once spoken on the island, some have become extinct, Cornish as recently as 200 years ago (Baugh and Cable 33), while others have survived and are still spoken today: Irish in Ireland, Scottish Gaelic in Scotland, and Welsh in Wales. These Celtic languages may also die out and the whole Celtic branch of Indo-European become extinct. The reasons for this possibility are that: (1) the people of these small nations speak both English and their respective Celtic languages, and bilingualism is the first step toward loss of one of the languages, since a group of people seldom speak two languages for more than a few generations; (2) English is the only common language understood by all of them; (3) and due to the international status of English, it will probably outlast the Celtic languages. A number of Native American languages in both North and South America have followed the same path to extinction: that is, bilingualism, then loss of the minority language to the more widespread language, either Spanish or English.

Latin was the next language to enter the British Isles. After a great deal of effort, the Romans finally conquered the British Isles in the middle of the first century A.D. Even though Latin was the spoken language of the rulers of the island for 350 years, the Celtic languages continued to be spoken among the Celtic peoples. About A.D. 410 the last of the Roman troops were officially withdrawn, and Latin ceased to be a spoken language in the British Isles for a while (Baugh and Cable 44-46; Churchill 3-12).

In A.D. 449 certain West Germanic tribes began invading England (Bolton 97; Baugh and Cable 46-49; Jespersen 31). Another version is that after the Romans left, the Celtic tribes began warring with each other so fiercely that some southern Celts invited the folks from across the channel to help them fight the northern Celts and gave them places to settle; then after beating the northern Celts, the Jutes, Angles, Saxons, and Frisians helped themselves to more real estate than originally offered them (Crystal 6). A conglomerate of their West Germanic dialects became what is known as the English language, meaning that English did not exist 1600 years ago. They came from the mainland of northwestern Europe, i.e., coastal areas which are now part of Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands (Jespersen 32-33; Baugh and Cable 46-49). Interestingly, Frisian shows greater similarity to English than the Angle and Saxon dialects (Jespersen 32). The history of English is normally divided into three periods: Old English (A.D. 450 to A.D. 1150), Middle English (A.D. 1150 to A.D. 1500), and modern English from A.D. 1500 to the present (Baugh and Cable 51-52). All living languages are always changing, so these are general divisions, not points of abrupt change.

Old English did not become a written language until A.D. 700 (Baugh and Cable 52), a full 250 years after the West Germanic tribes invaded the island. Various Old English dialects existed due to the initial variety of West Germanic dialects that settled in different areas and due to further changes during the centuries following the West Germanic invasion (Baugh and Cable 52; Crystal 28). After all, the 250 years from the invasion (ca. A.D. 450) to the writing of Old English (A.D. 700) was a greater length of time than the history of the United States since 1776.

Old English resembles German more than it does modern English. The Old English noun had four cases as in German. Like German, Old English stan ‘stone’ showed different endings depending on how it was used in the sentence: stan was the nominative case when it was the subject of the verb; stan-e was the dative case (to/for); stan-es genitive (possessive); and stan the accusative when the object of the verb (Baugh and Cable 57). Old English had nine words for this (Bloomfield and Newmark 162), and 20 words for the, depending on whether the following noun was masculine, feminine, or neuter; singular or plural; and nominative, accusative, or dative (Baugh and Cable 58). Be glad that you are learning English now instead of then.

Like Navaho, Old English also had dual pronouns. The first person pronouns were ic (I), wit (we two), we (we three or more) (Bloomfield and Newmark 161). It is common for languages that have both dual and plural forms to lose one set and have the other take over the job for both. It happened in English, and it is now happening in Navaho. In English the dual forms fell into disuse and the plural forms came to mean two or more. In Navaho, dual forms are replacing plural forms. For example, a group of five workers are as likely to say neiilnish (we two work) as ndeiilnish (we three or more work), and are even more likely to say nihi (we two) than danihí (we three or more).

In order to get an idea of what Old English was like, a short excerpt with translation is here presented:

Tha wæs æfter manigum dagum thæt se cyning com to thæm ealande.
Then it was after many days that the king came to the island.
Tha het se cyning hie sittan and hie swa dydon.
The king bade them to sit and they did so.
Tha andswarode se cyning, “Fæger word this sindon,
Then answered the king, “Fair words these are,
Ac forthon hie niwe sindon and uncuthe, ne magon we nu gen thæt.”
But since they are new and unknown, we may not yet consent to this.” (Baugh and Cable 63)

As one can see, some Old English words are no longer used in Modern English, while others are preserved, but have changed form, meaning, or pronunciation. The excerpt above was chosen because most of the words are recognizable; however, most random selections of Old English are difficult for Modern English speakers to understand. In fact, German is more like Old English than Modern English is. Surprisingly, 85% of the vocabulary of Old English has been replaced and is not part of the English language today (Baugh and Cable 55). So English has changed substantially, more than most languages do in a comparable length of time.

One common cause of language change is contact with other languages. English has been influenced by contact with the Celtic languages, Latin, Danish, French, and Native American languages. The Celtic languages, though already on the island about 1,000 years before English and all the years since, have had the least effect on English. Nonetheless, a few English words come from Celtic: crag, cross, dun, bin, curse, ass, and others which existed in Old English, but have since died out. However, the larger contribution from Celtic is in place names: York, London, Kent, Winchester, Thames, and others (Jespersen 34-35; Baugh and Cable 73-74; Crystal 8).

The Latin language of the Romans has influenced English via many routes and at various times (Crystal 24; Baugh and Cable 75). Because the Germanic speaking areas of continental Europe were under Roman influence, the Anglo-Saxons as well as the other Germanic groups had borrowed words from Latin before ever leaving the continent to invade the British Isles. Some of these words are camp, well, pit, street, mile, cheap, wine, cup, dish, line, linen, kettle, cheese, cherry, butter, plum, pea, onion, copper, mule, pipe, church, bishop, and belt (Baugh and Cable 77-79; Crystal 8; Jespersen 28-29).

In A.D. 597, approximately 150 years after the Anglo-Saxon arrival, Christianity was introduced into the British Isles by St. Augustine. Of course, the language of the Roman Church was Latin, and many words (mostly dealing with religion) came into English during this period: alms, alter, angel, anthem, candle, deacon, disciple, epistle, hymn, martyr, mass, nun, offer, palm, pope, priest, rule, temple, cap, sock, silk, purple, chest, mat, sack, pear, doe, radish, oyster, lobster, plant, school, master, verse, meter, gloss, circle, legion, giant, talent, apostle, creed, cell, demon, font, idol, prime, prophet, Sabbath, history, paper, term, title, fig, cancer, scorpion, tiger, and plaster. Some of these words Latin had previously borrowed from Greek or Hebrew (Baugh and Cable 81-85; Jespersen 37-39).

The third era of Latin loans came later (ca. A.D. 1400-1700) and basically coincided with the Renaissance. During this time, educated folks borrowed extensively from Latin, which was the language of the schools, universities, and all scholarly endeavor in those centuries (Jespersen 106-110; Baugh and Cable 213-229). The Latin loans during this period are so numerous that even a partial list would be impractical.

The Scandinavian languages, particularly Danish, also exerted a major influence upon English. Before A.D. 800 the Danes from Denmark and the Norsemen from Norway began raiding the east coast of the British Isles. These raiders are commonly known as the Vikings. Some of these Scandinavian peoples eventually settled in the British Isles and Danish was spoken among them at least until A.D. 1100 (Baugh and Cable 95). The influence of Danish upon English was tremendous. Some of our commonest words come from Danish: both, same, get, give (Crystal 25). Old English sindon being replaced by are for plural be is almost certainly due to Scandinavian influence (Crystal 25). Danish and Norse were quite similar 1,000 years ago, much more so than now; thus, many words existed in both languages, such that it is not always practical to specify which Scandinavian language the loans came from. Accordingly, the following are other English words borrowed from Scandinavian tongues (Danish or Norse): anger, band, bank, birth, booth, brink, bull, dirt, egg, fellow, gap, girth, guess, happy, husband, kid, knife, law, leg, link, loan, mire, race, reindeer, root, scab, scales, score, sky, skin, skill, scrape, scrub, skirt scrap, seat, sister, slaughter, smile, snare, stack, steak, thrift, tidings, trust, want, window, awkward, flat, ill, loose, low, meek, muggy, odd, rotten, rugged, scant, sly, tight, weak, call, cast, clip, cow, crave, crawl, die, droop, gasp, get, give, kindle, lift, lug, nag, raise, rake, ransack, rid, scare, scowl, sprint, take, etc. (Crystal 25; Baugh and Cable 99; Jespersen 55-77).

As mentioned, most of the Scandinavian languages are closely related to English as members of the Germanic branch (except Finnish, which does not belong to Indo-European). One result from this is that borrowed words from Danish exist alongside corresponding native English words. For example, in Old English an original sk sound had already changed to the sh sound, but in the Scandinavian languages it had not. Therefore, we have such pairs as shirt from Old English and skirt from Scandinavian, also ship and skipper, respectively, and shrub and scrub. In addition, the final k of Scandinavian loans sometimes corresponds to a word with ch in Old English: bank and bench; or dike and ditch (Baugh and Cable 96; Crystal 26).

Scandinavian influence affected both vocabulary and grammatical changes. The third person plural pronouns they, their, and them come from Scandinavian and replaced Old English hie, hiera, and him. The -s on present tense third person singular verb forms also comes from Scandinavian: he likes me; a cat sleeps (Jespersen 66; Baugh and Cable 90-104; Crystal 25-26).

After some 300 years of Scandinavian settlement on the island, another people added themselves to the mixture in an event that had a greater effect on the English language than any other, before or since. In the year 1066 William the Conqueror from Normandy, France conquered England. He replaced the English ruling class with French-speaking government officials. As French became the language of the rulers and many merchants, much of England became bilingual. French also replaced English in the schools. The words borrowed from French into English are too numerous for a sizable sample, but a condensed list is in order. Because French was the language of the ruling class and aristocracy, the kinds of words that were borrowed have to do with government, law, military, religion, fashion, meals, and social life.

Relevant to government we have govern, government, administer, state, empire, crown, reign, royal, authority, majesty, oppress, court, council, parliament, assembly, treaty, alliance, record, tax, subject, public, liberty, treasure, marshal, mayor, peasant, slave, servant.

A sample of law terms includes justice, judge, judgment, crime, bar, plea, suit, defend, attorney, bill, petition, complaint, indictment, jury, evidence, proof, verdict, sentence, decree, award, fine, prison, punishment, plead, accuse, blame, arrest, seize, assign, convict, banish, pardon, trespass, arson, assault, slander, perjury, adultery, innocent, estate, heir, heritage.

An array of military terms also comes from French: army, navy, peace, enemy, battle, combat, ambush, stratagem, retreat, soldier, guard, spy, captain, lieutenant, sergeant, banner, mail, archer, and chief.

Vocabulary relevant to religion includes religion, sermon, sacrament, baptism, confess, prayer, lesson, passion, clerk, dean, chaplain, pastor, creator, savior, virgin, saint, miracle, mystery, faith, reverence, devotion, temptation, damnation, redemption, salvation, immortality, charity, mercy, pity, obedience, preach, repent, adore, convert, ordain.

In the spheres of fashion, food, and social life, we have dress, fashion, gown, robe, garment, coat, collar, veil, lace, embroidery, buckle, button, boot, luxury, blue, brown, jewel, ornament, turquoise, ruby, pearl, diamond, crystal, dinner, supper, feast, appetite, taste, salmon, venison, beef, mutton, pork, bacon, sausage, gravy, pigeon, poultry, toast, biscuit, cream, sugar, olive, salad, lettuce, almond, fruit, raisin, date, grape, orange, lemon, cherry, peach, spice, herb, mustard, vinegar, cinnamon, roast, boil, stew, fry, saucer, plate, screen, lamp, blanket, quilt, towel, basin, closet, dance, recreation, music, melody, conversation, stallion, trot, stable, harness, leash, scent, falcon, pheasant, quail, squirrel, forest (Baugh and Cable 167-173; Crystal 46-47).

These groups of words are but small samples of more than 10,000 French loans that came into English during those centuries (Crystal 46). Since French is largely of Latin descnet, most of this vast body of vocabulary is also from Latin ultimately. Thus, Modern English vocabulary is more from Latin than from Germanic, though most of the basic vocabulary is still Germanic.

In addition to vocabulary, tremendous changes in grammar also occurred during the centuries following the Norman Conquest, which period is referred to as Middle English (A.D. 1150-1500). During this period most of the case endings of nouns were lost. Simplification or leveling of case endings on nouns is common among languages the world over. For example, Latin had five cases, but Spanish and most other Latin descendant languages have no case endings. Proto-Semitic had three cases, which remained in Akkadian and classical Arabic, but were lost in Hebrew, Aramaic, and others of the Semitic language family. One common cause for loss of case endings is substantial contact with case-less languages. Though the matter can be argued (Baugh and Cable 166), the loss of English case endings is probably at least partially due to the heavy influences of fairly case-less French during the Middle English period.

Another change occurring during this period was the simplification of many strong or irregular verb forms to what are now called regular past tense and past participle forms. The more consistent pattern of adding -ed to the verb was easier and became more common. We still have some irregular verbs: eat, ate, eaten; ride, rode, ridden. But English does not have nearly as many as it once did. For example, shaved replaced shove, climbed replaced clomb, and stepped replaced stope (Baugh and Cable 163-165).

A morphological loss during this period was the free use of certain prefixes and suffixes. For example, -ship was used to make many abstract nouns in older English, but now survives only in a handful of words such as friendship and hardship. Lost forever are boldship, busiship, cleanship, and kindship, the morpheme -ness having replaced most of them. The prefix with- meaning ‘against’ also has a limited survival in withstand, withdraw, and withhold. Most such Germanic compounds have been replaced by Latin loans: withsay by renounce, withspeak by contradict, withset by resist, etc. (Baugh and Cable 181-183).

Another common occurrence in the merging of two languages is the changing or specialization of meanings. For example, English already had words for cattle, sheep, and pigs, so the French words for these animals—beef, mutton, pork—came to be used for the meat on the table, not the animal. Three Old English words dealing with food also shifted meanings. Old English mete meant ‘food’ but now means ‘meat’; flæsc was the word for ‘meat’ meaning ‘animal meat,’ but now includes human tissue, and foda meant ‘animal fodder’, but now means human food as well (Janeddy, Poletto, and Weldon 330). An example of a meaning shift in Navaho is the word for ‘horse.’ In the Athapaskan languages in Canada and Alaska, £íí (underlined vowels are nasalized) means ‘dog,’ but in Navaho it means ‘horse.’ The horse was new to the Athapaskan speakers arriving in the Southwest, so evidently they used £íí for this new domestic work animal and another word was coined for ‘dog’: £ééchaa’í ‘ground sniffer.’

The semantic domain (range of meanings) of some words expands while that of others reduces. For example, Old English docga was a specific breed of dog, but later expanded to become the general word for dog, i.e., all breeds, so its semantic domain increased. The semantic domain of hound, on the other hand, was originally the general word for dog, but was reduced to a set of specific breeds. The Middle English word for girl meant ‘young person’ of either gender, but has since become more specific to mean young person of the feminine gender (Janeddy, Poletto, and Weldon 328-329). Likewise, guy still generally means ‘male person,’ but in the plural phrases you guys, those guys, it is now expanding semantically to mean persons of either gender. A semantic reduction is English deer which is cognate with German tier meaning ‘animal’ generally.

With the rapid changes that were occurring during the Middle English period, many local dialects developed. Sometimes speakers on opposite ends of the island could not understand each other (Baugh and Cable 188). By the end of the Middle English period, one dialect had basically been established as the standard language of England: the dialect of London, the capital. The dialect of London was not linguistically superior to other dialects in any way, but it is typical that the dialect of the capital city becomes the standard language, as a result of political factors, not linguistic factors. If the English capital had been further north instead of in the south of England, we would be saying things like hame instead of home, kirk instead of church, stane instead of stone, benk instead of bench, ain’t instead of isn’t, etc (Baugh and Cable 191-194).

A shift in the pronunciation of the vowels also occurred during the Middle English period. Originally, a was pronounced as in father and tall, e approximated the vowel sound of paid or hate, and i equaled the vowel sound in meet or machine. In other words, the original English vowel sounds were like the Latin vowels. The later changes constitute a good example of a vowel shift that can be represented as follows: a > e, e > i, i > ai (Baugh and Cable 238). Originally, English vowels were pronounced more like Spanish, German, Latin, Greek, Hindustani, Navaho, Samoan, and most languages of the world that use the Latin alphabet. But the great vowel shift left English speakers pronouncing the Latin vowels differently than the rest of the world.

Two plural suffixes co-existed in earlier English: -en and -(e)s. In some dialects -en was the plural suffix for most nouns: eyen ‘eyes’; kneen ‘knees’; fon ‘foes’ (Baugh and Cable 240). German has a parallel -en plural for some German nouns: Jungen ‘youths’; Frauen ‘women.’ However, by the end of the Middle English period, the -(e)s plural had become dominant. Nevertheless, a few survivors of the older plural still exist in such words as oxen, brethren, children.

The history of the possessive apostrophe-s (-‘s) is a curiosity. It actually comes from the Old English genitive ending (the possessive case): -es/-is/-ys. Since the h of his was not pronounced, the genitive -is and the shortened ‘is pronunciation of his both sounded identical, which caused people to assume, during the time when case endings were being lost, that this possessive form was a contraction from his, and so the apostrophe was used to show the incorrectly assumed missing letters of this contraction. Even Shakespeare left out the contraction to make it “more correct” and wrote phrases like ‘the count his galleys’ instead of ‘the count’s galleys’ (Baugh and Cable 240-241).

Another Germanic characteristic that disappeared shortly after the Middle English period was conjugated verb forms. These were still productive (a linguistic term for ‘alive and well’) in the early seventeenth century when the King James scholars translated the Bible. Note how similar the conjugated verb forms of earlier English are to those of German:

I bind ich binde
thou bindest du bindest
he bindeth er bindet

Verb conjugation patterns tend to be simplified over time and sometimes eliminated, as they were in English. Something similar might be expected to happen to Navaho over the next century or two. The conjugation patterns of Navaho verbs are more complex than any Indo-European language. That complexity and Navaho’s extensive contact with English combine to make such a simplification likely. In fact, I have heard that in some areas or among some younger speakers, such simplifications are already underway.

The beginning of the Modern English period essentially coincides with the European discovery and settlement of America. Since the transplanting of English to America, the natural processes of language change have created differences between British English and American English. Many people assume that British English has remained the fixed or original standard and that American English has done all the changing. Not so. No language is fixed (except dead ones); all living languages are always changing. American English has retained some archaic features, which have since been lost in British English.

For example, Americans have retained the original past participle gotten for the verb get, while gotten has since been lost in British English. They use got for both the past tense and past participle. We still use mad to mean ‘angry’ as it was used in Shakespeare’s day, whereas the English have lost that meaning and use it only to mean ‘insane.’ The mild expression of consent I guess is as old as Chaucer, yet the English find it amusing as it has long since dropped out of use in British English (Baugh and Cable 351-353). The Midwest word clumb (rhyming with numb) as a past tense of climb(ed) appears to be a continuation from Old English clomb in southeastern U.S. areas west of the Appalachians. These are only a few among hundreds of archaic retentions that could be found in the rural areas of the eastern U.S.

The retention of archaic features in isolated languages is common. Icelandic, which separated from Norwegian about A.D. 900 and remained quite isolated in the Atlantic, is more archaic and closer to Old Norse than modern Norwegian is. In some Spanish dialects of New Mexico, archaic features dating from the days of the conquistadores still exist, while those features have since been lost in the rest of the Spanish speaking world of Spain and Latin America.

English also borrowed many words from Native American languages: moose, skunk, squash, pecan, raccoon, chipmunk, canoe, moccasin, hominy, tomato, tapioca, potato, coyote, tortilla, and many more (Crystal 127; Janeddy, Poletto, and Weldon 336; Baugh and Cable 354).

We might touch upon the present state of the two languages most prevalent in this the Four Corners area: English and Navaho. Some older Navahos say that the young do not know how to speak Navaho so well these days. This is not the fault of the younger Navahos, but is quite natural and has parallels in every situation of intense language contact. First of all, Navaho is changing more rapidly than most others, since it is a minority language under heavy influence from the dominant language English. Second, rarely are the 70-year-old speakers of any language impressed with the speech of the teenage speakers of that language. The same could be said of English speakers, though for Navaho the change is more dramatic. As stated previously, all languages are always changing, and one lifetime is sufficient to see changes in a living language. One item rapidly disappearing from spoken English throughout the U.S. is whom, the accusative of who, the lone survivor (outside of personal pronouns) of the Old English case system. We still encourage its use in written English, though it is all but gone in spoken English. Nevertheless, in spite of the grammar books’ providing a life support system to allow whom‘s comatose continuance for some time now, should we vex ourselves with an apparent lost cause for which it may be time to pull the plug? Another example of rapid change is the word gay, whose meaning changed almost overnight. This adjective was typically used to describe children having a gleeful time on a playground. However, few use it in that sense any more due to the recent reference to homosexuality.

The etymologies (histories of words) of many Modern English words are interesting; we shall note only a few. Nickname is a combination of an eke name, eke meaning ‘a little extra’; we also find eke in the phrase to eke out a living or have enough extra to live on. Then an eke name became one word anekename and then the division of an was reinterpreted, such that an was perceived to be the article a plus the word beginning with n: a nickname (Bolton 115; Funk 64). An unusual parallel is that many Modern English speakers also split an (in another) in the phrase: That’s a whole nother (story / matter). This is non-standard English, of course, and found only in conversation, though I have heard newscasters say it on television. English mob is a shortened form of Latin mobile vulgus ‘fickle crowd’ or ‘wandering commoners’ (Funk 64). English muscle comes through French from Latin muscalus meaning ‘little mouse’ due to a muscle looking something like a little mouse moving under the skin (Funk 71); note that Latin mus and Old English mus for ‘mouse’ are quite identical.

Because English is the primary language of the north half of the Western Hemisphere and serves as a lingua franca throughout the world, reading a brief outline of the origins and history of this language that we use every day merits a few minutes. More could be said about it, since volumes have been written on it, but this concise statement will suffice as an introduction to this fascinating subject of study … or object of study.


Works Cited

Baugh, Albert C., and Thomas Cable. A History of the English Language. 2nd ed. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1978.
Bloomfield, Morton W., and Leonard Newmark. A Linguistic Introduction  to the History of English. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1967.
Bolton, W. F. A Living Language: The History and Structure of English. New York: Random House, 1982.
Churchill, Winston S. Churchill’s History of the English-Speaking Peoples. Arranged for one volume by Henry Steele Commager. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1995.
Crystal, David. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
Funk, Wilfred. Word Origins: An Explanation and History of Words and Language. Avenel, New Jersey: Wings Books, 1950.
Haywood, John, Brian Catchpole, Simon Hall, and Edward Barratt. Atlas of World History. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1997.
Jannedy, Stefanie, Robert Poletto, and Tracey L. Weldon, eds. Language Files. 6th ed. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1994.
Jespersen, Otto. Growth and Structure of the English Language. 10th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982.

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2 replies

  1. Kudos to this spiritual task of illuminating minds!

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