This groundbreaking book deviates from the standard or "textbook" way of looking at the history of the English language. Emphasis is placed on a linguistic description of English in a much broader sense. A range of international contributors provide accounts of the histories of non-standard, non-British and non-American varieties. By approaching and including non-formal styles and registers, and the pragmatic and communicative aspects of English, it opens the door to unbiased consideration of such topics as South African Indian English, Southern Hemisphere Englishes, and Early Modern English women's writing. Watts' and Trudgill's collection shows how a focus on the history of standard English dialect is to the detriment of those which are from other areas of the world.