The historical evolution of English pronunciation

Smith, J. (2015) The historical evolution of English pronunciation. In: Reed, M. and Levis, J. (eds.) The Handbook of English Pronunciation. Series: Blackwell handbooks in linguistics. Wiley Blackwell: Oxford, pp. 1-18. ISBN 9781118314470 (doi: 10.1002/9781118346952.ch1)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


This chapter places the study of English pronunciation within its historical context. After an initial section on the evidence for the history of English sounds, it addresses the issue of historical explanation in sound-change, with reference to three case-studies: the phonemicisation of voiced and voiceless fricatives, the emergence of the West Saxon sound-change known as Breaking, and the Great Vowel Shift of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The chapter concludes with an overall assessment of the extent to which sound-changes can be explained.

Item Type:Book Sections (Other)
Additional Information:Edited by Marnie Reed and John M. Levis
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Smith, Professor Jeremy
Authors: Smith, J.
Subjects:P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PE English
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Publisher:Wiley Blackwell
Related URLs:

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record