Through his analysis of selected major developments in the history of English, Jeremy Smith argues that the history of the language can only be understood from a dynamic perspective. He proposes that internal linguistic mechanisms for language change cannot be meaningfully explained in isolation or without reference to external linguistic factors. <BR> Smith provides the reader with an accessible synthesis of recent developments in English historical linguistics. His book: Looks at the theory and methodology of linguistic historiography . Considers the major changes in writing systems, pronunciation and grammar. Provides examples of these changes, such as the standardisation of spellings and accent and the origins of the Great Vowel Shift Focuses on the origins of two non-standard varieties; eighteenth century Scots and twentieth century British Black English.This book makes fascinating reading for students of English Historical linguistics, and is an original, important and above all, lively contribution to the field.