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Like all living languages, English has gone through tremendous changes, perhaps the greatest in the years 1500-1800, as it continued its movement away from Middle English. It was during this time that scholars began to standardize the language and impose grammatical rules. This need to standardize was driven by the onslaught of printing technology, which produced increasingly greater quantities of printed books sought after by a growing number of literate adults. The rules, guidelines, and precedents set during this time continue to affect the way we speak and write today.

In English Linguistics, UMI® brings together 365 titles essential to the study of English linguistics on a historical basis. The facsimiles preserved in the collection comprise a comprehensive and authoritative source of linguistic studies. The titles include textbooks of rhetoric and logic, early grammars (written in English) of most Indo-European languages, grammars of English, dictionaries, studies in the theory of language, and studies on pronunciation and style.

Titles reveal linguistic changes, demonstrating language evolution through the years. Here is a sampling:


  • The boke of Englysshe, and Spanysshe (1534)
  • A briefe and a playne introduction, teachying how to pronounce the letters in, the British tongue (now commenly called Walsh) . . . by William Salesbury (1550)
  • A very necessary boke bothe in Englyshe and in French wherein thou mayst learne to speake and wryte Frenche truly in a little space if thou gyve thy mynde and diligence there unto (1550)
  • Luddus literarius: or, the grammar schoole; shewing how to proceede from the first entrance into learning, to the highest perfection by John Brinsley (1612)
  • The art of logick; or the entire body of logick in English by Zachary Coke (1654)
  • Accedence commenc't grammar, supply'd with sufficient runes, for the use of such (younger and elder) as are desirous, withoutmore trouble than needs to attain the Latin tongue; the elder sort especially with little teaching, and their own industry by John Milton (1669)
  • The many advantages of a good language to any nation: with an examination of the present state of our own: as also, an essay towards correcting some things that are wrong in it (1724)
  • A grammar of the Arabick language by John Richardson (1776)
  • An attempt to render the pronunciation of the English language more easy to foreigners. . . by William Smith (1795)
  • A pronouncing dictionary of the English language, . . . (1796)

This collection is essential to those studying linguistics, the history of language, etymology, semantics, the history of education, rhetoric, and sociology.

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