Sociocultural processes and the history of English

Jonathan Culpeper and Minna Nevala

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of English

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199922765
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Sociocultural processes and the history of English

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  • Linguistics
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Historical and Diachronic Linguistics


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This article explores the socio-cultural processes, along with concepts used in defining them, that have played a significant role in the history of the English language. It looks at the fuzzy complexes of social phenomena that constitute socio-cultural processes, especially ideology, culture, and power. It also examines some specific processes that are applicable to events in the history of English (social stratification, standardization, colonialization, globalization, industrialization and urbanization, democratization, cultural assimilation) and considers whether discourse, as opposed to language, deserves analysis and discussion. In addition, the article looks at the kind of analytical focus linguistic work linking to socio-cultural processes might have, together with methodological issues and relevant data sources.

Keywords: socio-cultural; processes; history; English; ideology; culture; power; social stratification; standardization; colonialization; globalization

Article.  12021 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Sociolinguistics ; Historical and Diachronic Linguistics

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