Language in the British Isles

Editor David Britain. Edition Second. Publisher Cambridge University Press. Pages 508. Price £50.00. ISBN 9780521791502.

May 22, 2008

The second edition of the volume edited by Peter Trudgill 25 years ago is so thoroughly revised that we may as well call it a new reference. And a reference book it is indeed: users will dip into it for a snapshot of standard or non-standard English spoken in Britain, other languages spoken here (Chinese gets its own chapter but Polish doesn't) or applied issues such as the status of non-standard English in education. The scope, then, is very ambitious.

If the publisher intends this as a textbook that is actually a problem, as the chapters are too sketchy and too devoid of theory (linguistic and sociolinguistic) to be the backbone of a course in English language or sociolinguistics.

Who is it for? Students in need of an essay topic, lecturers in need of a list of essay topics.

Presentation - Good use of tables, maps and photos.

Would you recommend it? Get your university librarian to put a copy on short loan.

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