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date: 19 June 2021

p. 11. What is English?locked

p. 11. What is English?locked

  • Simon Horobin


Over 1 billion people speak English either as their first or second language. Are all these people speaking the same language, or are we witnessing the emergence of new Englishes? English has been in use for 1,500 years and has changed to such an extent that the form of the language used by the Anglo-Saxons—Old English—is unrecognizable to contemporary English speakers. ‘What is English?’ considers five different translations of a passage from the New Testament, each of which has a claim to represent a kind of English. These translations raise different questions about the status of the English language, its linguistic forebears, and progeny. What does the future hold for Standard British English?

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