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Here is Marcia Henry’s list of books on the history of English, from her book “Unlocking Literacy“:
RESOURCES FOR STUDENTS
- Brook, D, & Zallinger, JD (Illustrated). 1998. The Journey of English. New York: Clarion Books.
- Klausner, JC. 1990. Talk about English: How Words Travel and Change. New York, Thomas Y Crowell.
- Krensky, S. 1996. Breaking into Print: Before and After the Invention of the Printing Press. Toronto: Little, Brown.
- Samoyault, T. 1996. Alphabetical Order: How the Alphabet Began. New York: Penguin.
RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS
- Ayto, J. 1999. Twentieth Century Words. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Balmuth, M. 1992. The Roots of Phonics. Timonium, MD: York Press.
- Barnett, L. 1964. The Treasure of Our Tongue. New York: Alfred A Knopf.
- Bryson, B. 1990. The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way. New York: William Morrow.
- Claiborne, R. 1983. Our Marvelous Native Tongue: The Life and Times of the English Language. New York: Times Books.
- Lederer, R. 1991. The Miracle of Language. New York: Pocket Books.
- Logan, RK. 1986. The Alphabet Effect. New York: St Martin’s Press.
- Manguel, A. 1996. A History of Reading. New York: Viking.
- Martin, H-J. 1994. The History and Power of Writing. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- McCrum, R, Cran, S, & Mac Neil, R. 1986. The Story of English. New York: Viking.
- Nist, J. 1996. A Structural History of English. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
- Pei, M. 1965, 1949. The Story of Language. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
- Pinker, S. 1994. The Language Instinct. New York: William Morrow.
- Soukhanov, AH. (1995. Word Watch: The Story Behind the Words of Our Lives. New York: Henry Holt & Co.
THE ANGLO-SAXON LAYER
Marcia Henry quotes from Nist’s (see above) clever inventory of some Anglo-Saxon words in use today.
English remains preeminently Anglo-Saxon in its core. These words are the common, everyday, down-to-earth words used frequently in ordinary situations.
Whether a person is American, British, Canadian, Australian, New Zealander or South African, he
…loves his mother, father, brother, sister, wife, son and daughter; lifts his hand to his head, his cup to his mouth, his eye to heaven and his heart to God; hates his foes, likes his friends, kisses his kin and buries his dead; draws his breath, eats his bread, drinks his water, stands his watch, wipes his sweat, feels his sorrow, weeps his tears and sheds his blood; and all these things he thinks about and calls both good and bad.
In addition to this vocabulary, other Anglo-Saxon elements are (according to Nist) “the suprasegmentals of its stress, pitch and juncture.”
sole source: “Unlocking Literacy: Effective Decoding & Spelling Instruction,” by Marcia K Henry. Paul H Brookes Publishing, 2003. ISBN 10: 1-55766-664-4. www.brookespublishing.com
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