The English Language
The English language, in its earliest period, was spoken by a few thousand people, most of whom were illiterate. Today, more than 300 million people speak and write English as their first language. In this book, Robert Burchfield takes us on a brief tour of our ever-changing language as he surveys its history and development and assesses its current state. An eloquent guide, Burchfield examines the complexities of English, as well as its amazing resilience and flexibility. From vocabulary, syntax, and pronunciation, to an analysis of the role of literature and the English Bible in shaping the language, Burchfield infuses all his discussions with his fascination with the mystery of language and his confidence that English "can be used at the present time as in the past, with majesty and power, free of all fault."