When and why did 'thou' disappear from Standard English? Would a
Victorian Cockney have said 'observation' or 'hobservation'? Was
Jane Austen making a mistake when she wrote 'Jenny and James are
walked to Charmonth this afternoon'? This superbly well-informed -
and also wonderfully entertaining - history of the English language
answers all these questions, showing how the many strands of
English (Standard English, dialect and slang among them) developed
to create the richly-varied language of today.