by C.J. Wells
This is the first history of German to bridge the gap between 'handbook' level and the more specialized work available only in articles. It offers students and teachers a treatment of the subject that is up to date, comprehensive and stimulating. After an initial discussion of problems of language change and theoretical approaches (structuralist, generative and sociolinguistic) the author proceeds to integrate internal and external linguistic history by using the novel technique of perspective shift: a different level of language is used to illustrate each period up to the seventeenth century. Thus the first chapter deals with the pre-German background and Chapter II analyses the phonology of this period. The third chapter treats sociolinguistic developments in later medieval German, and the fourth its morphology. The last two chapters, which concern the modern period, provide a synthesis of recent material which is not easily available. complex work published in articles. * Provides a synthesis of material on the recent history of German not available elsewhere. * Linguistic history is presented as a rewarding, stimulating, and interpretative process.
* Using a new technique which makes for clarity and economy, the author illustrates each sociolinguistic period up to the seventeenth century by a different level of language.