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The United States of English

The American Language from Colonial Times to the Twenty-First Century

Rosemarie Ostler

29 November 2023

ISBN: 9780197647295

240 pages

Price: £21.99



The United States of English tells the story of how American English grew and changed from colonial times to the present, exploring how the American language is different from British English and how it got that way. From the English of the colonists to slang, regional dialects, African American English, the internet, and "political correctness," Rosemarie Ostler shows how the language has evolved and is still evolving today. Written for non-specialists, it is filled with colorful examples of past and present English that bring the language to life.

  • Explains how our language came to be distinctly American
  • Traces accents and dialects back to our colonial origins and forwards to the internet, politics, and COVID-19
  • Describes language change clearly and accessibly, without jargon

About the Author(s)

Rosemarie Ostler, Freelance Writer

Rosemarie Ostler is a freelance writer with a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Washington. She is the author of five books about the history of American English and numerous articles on language-related topics. Her work has appeared in American History, The Saturday Evening Post, Christian Science Monitor, Time.com, Atlas Obscura, and The Writer, among others.

Table of Contents

    Chapter 1: The Beginnings of American English
    Chapter 2: Early Regional Dialects
    Chapter 3: Building the Vocabulary
    Chapter 4: American Grammar and Usage
    Chapter 5: The Spread of Regional Speech
    Chapter 6: Ethnic Dialects
    Chapter 7: Language Innovation outside the Mainstream
    Chapter 8: The Social Life of American English
    Chapter 9: American English Today
    Afterword: American English Tomorrow
    Appendix: American Vowels
    Select Bibliography