English is by and far, a universally acceptable language - spoken by maximum people in maximum countries. Better known as the Queen's language, English originated in Great Britain and continued to spread its influence over the entire world through a legacy of colonisation.
There has been a conscious move towards study of the history of the language while building up to the modern use of English. With the rise of modernism, the need to use more clipped sentences and avoid repetitive use of pronouns and other articles has become a pre requisite for using the language. The authors have, throughout the book, outlined the history of the language since colonial to post colonial times. Also, they have placed importance on the shrugging off of the old grammatical ways that have given way to new grammar. It is in this transitional phase that one will find important insights into why English has come up the way it has, considering it has made its presence felt in so many corners of the globe.
In the initial chapters, the authors provide a social and cultural analysis of the growth of English and its gradual spread over various continents. What influenced this phenomenon was the process of colonisation. This prompted the establishment of entire English speaking communities. These people were then forced to maintain connections with the economic and cultural scenario in England. This stems from a need to keep in touch with the roots attached to the use of something in one's daily life. For example, the translations in the national language come directly from the English phrases used in the Indian Army, which came from the British Army being a former colony of the British Empire.
With notes on Irish and Australian English, the authors bring us to a point where it is imperative to realise those parts of English that must be paid attention to in its everyday use. All of this boils down to the ninth chapter titled "Good and Bad English". Also, there are important chapters on styles and accents.
While on modernism, having built up on renaissance and growth of capitalism, the authors have managed to outline modernism as the personal take of various cultural theorists. Delving into the transition of the entire European society which triggered the need for the English language to enter its modern state, the authors talk of how modernism is more a state of one's mind within the context of economic and social condition. In doing so, they hope to demonstrate how the language has developed as a more standardised language. (Leith et al, p. 136)
Further, they have managed to identify the common mistakes and misuse of the language - whether it is the misplaced sensibilities behind the jargon used by today's teenagers or the abuse of the various adjectives in general. In this way, through various examples, particularly in Chapter 9, the authors have managed to place common judgements that revolve around good and bad English. While there was general consensus on the misuse of the language, the authors have put these feelings into words by placing emphasis on the nuances that most of would otherwise miss. (Leith et al, p. 338)
In this chapter, the author, Donald Mackinnon, has stressed on various issues. For starters, he evaluates the general state of things by noticing that the A level boards have pointed out the sloppy use of the language