The Story of English Short Essay - Answer Key

Robert McCrum
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1. What do the authors of The Story of English rely upon to relate the history of the English language?

The authors note that the English language brings together many influences in one place. In their record of the language, they rely upon literature, news, voice recordings, songs, and the like in order to tell a general story about the history of the English language.

2. What do the authors assert about the state of flux of the English language in the Introduction?

The authors assert that the story of the English language is more the story of English languages. The English language is in constant flux and is always adding and losing terms, pronunciations, and the like. As cultures change, the language reflects this.

3. How do we know how the English language sounded hundreds of years ago? What do the authors relate about grammatical shifts in the Introduction?

It has been hard to know how the language sounded in its various forms until voice recording but its genius is still available. English speakers have a natural way of knowing what words go where even with fewer concrete rules about grammar than some other languages. This implicit sense of appropriateness gives English its own ebb and flow that can be aided by lexicographers but not stopped.

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