The History of English

The History of Early English Routledge, 2016

The book provides an accessible and student-friendly introduction to the history of the English language from its beginnings until the end of the Early Modern English period. Taking an activity-based approach, this text ensures that students learn by engaging with the fascinating evolution of this language rather than simply reading about it.

‘Johnson’s History of Early English does not disappoint. He has the knack of presenting difficult material in a refreshingly digestible and interactive style which links up the ancient-and-long-ago with today, and all of that is done without compromising on detail: he includes topics that are abuzz in the research world of the history of English’.
Peter Tan, National University of Singapore

‘Johnson’s account of the story of Old English is a remarkable achievement. It brings clarity, warmth and humour to a potentially dry topic, and provides a fascinating guide to the evolution of the English language from its beginning until the end of the 17th century. The activities are integral to the book’s success, drawing the reader into the text while at the same time stimulating discussion and exploration beyond the text. The book will be an invaluable resource and a thoroughly enjoyable read for students of linguistics and lovers of language around the world.
Professor Stephen Andrews, The University of Hong Kong

The History of Late Modern Englishes Routledge, 2021

This book continues the story of English from the beginning of the eighteenth century until the present day. It follows the same activity-based approach as The History of Early English. The book covers the development of the language not just in Britain, but world-wide (including North America and Australasia). There is a chapter on English as a Global Language.

‘For both students and teachers, Keith Johnson’s History of Late Modern Englishes is a godsend. The book adopts a refreshingly modern, sociolinguistic approach to its subject matter, exploring English in all its varieties. Like its masterful predecessor The History of Early English, it is written in an accessible and entertaining way, and its well-constructed and engaging exercises encourage students to make discoveries about English for themselves. A ‘must’ for my course reading list!’
David Hornsby, University of Kent, UK

‘While scholarly discussions of LModE have grown considerably since the turn of the millennium, it has been much less frequent to come across student-centred discussions of what present-day Englishes owe to their historical past. By focussing on geographical variation across time, this book outlines some important ways in which English has changed over the last three centuries.’
Marina Dossena, University of Bergamo, Italy

Landmarks in the History of the English Language Routledge

In preparation, for publication in 2024/5.

The book identifies twelve landmarks spread throughout the language’s history, and has a chapter on each. In order to provide a ‘human face’ to the topic, most landmarks are approached through an individual associated with it, whose life and works are explored in some detail. Landmarks is intended either as an introduction to the field, or as supplementary materials for those already following a History of English programme.