Book notice: Standardizing Written English

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Sun Nov 19 14:06:34 UTC 2006

forwarded from Linguist-List

Standardizing Written English: Diffusion in the Case of Scotland,1520-1659
2006 Cambridge University Press

Author: Amy J Devitt

This book offers a new view of the linguistic process of standardization,
the movement of specific language features towards uniformity. Drawing on
theoretical arguments and empirical data, it examines the way in which
linguistic conformity develops out of variation, and the textual and
social factors which influence this process. After defining and clarifying
the general theoretical issues involved, Professor Devitt takes as a
specific case study the standardization of written English in Scotland in
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and shows that standardization is
a gradual process, that it encompasses periods of great variation and that
it occurs concurrently with sociopolitical shifts. The interrelationship
of linguistic features, genres and social pressures shapes the nature and
direction of standardization. This is a readable and accessible book which
will appeal to those involved in the study of Scots-English, and is of
importance for linguistic methodology and the study and teaching of

List of figures;
List of tables;
1. Linguistic standardization and Scots-English;
2. The linguistic diffusion of five variables;
3. Anglicization and theories of language change;
4. (Con)Textual variables and anglicization;
5. Conclusions;


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