This groundbreaking collection explores the beliefs and approaches to the history of English that do t make it into standard textbooks. Orthodox histories have presented a tunnel version of the history of the English language which is sociologically inadequate. In this book a range of leading international scholars show how this focus on standard English dialect is to the detriment of those which are n-standard or from other areas of the world. Alternative Histories of English: * reveals the range of possible 'narratives' about how different varieties of 'Englishes' may have emerged * places emphasis on pragmatic, sociolinguistic and discourse-oriented aspects of English rather than the traditional grammar, vocabulary and phology * considers diverse topics including South African English, Indian English, Southern Hemisphere Englishes, Early Modern English, women's writing, and politeness. Presenting a fuller and richer picture of the complexity of the history of English, the contributors to Alternative Histories of English explain why English is the diverse world language it is today.