This book, the second volume in A Linguistic History of English, describes the development of Old English from Proto-Germanic. Like Volume I, it is an internal history of the structure of English that combines traditional historical linguistics, modern syntactic theory, the study of languages in contact, and the variationist approach to language change.
The first part of the book considers the development of Northwest and West Germanic, and the northern dialects of the latter, with particular reference to phonological and morphological phenomena. Later chapters present a detailed account of changes in the Old English sound system, inflectional system, and syntax. The book aims to make the findings of traditional historical linguistics accessible to scholars and students in other subdisciplines, and also to adopt approaches from contemporary theoretical linguistics in such a way that they are accessible to a wide range of historical linguists.