This book is written for students of English who are interested in the history of the language and would like to read an accessible but also comprehensive and reasonably detailed introduction. Apart from basic information about language change and the Indo-European background of English, it gives an outline of the major periods of the language (Old English, Middle English, Early Modern English and Late Modern English), with a brief examination of the perspectives of present-day English. Each period chapter provides information about the socio-historical background, the core areas of linguistic structure, discourse, speech acts and genres, and concludes with study questions and exercises.
Thomas Kohnen is Professor of English historical linguistics at the University of Cologne. His major fields of study include historical pragmatics and historical text linguistics, corpus linguistics, historical syntax, speech act theory as well as orality and literacy and the language of religion.