The volume features a selection of new work presented at the 2004 meeting of the International Conference on English Historical Linguistics (ICEHL). Main conference themes reflected in this volume are: the maturation and broadening of historical corpus linguistics, a new interest in English for Specific Purposes as a diachronic phenomenon, and the role of grammar writing in the process of change. A further thematic strand of this book is the significance of functional aspects in the development of grammar and discourse, especially in domains beyond phonology and morphology. Several contributions focus on the operation of socio-pragmatic and functional factors in historically identifiable social networks, especially in the 18th century. Apart from that there is also a strong emphasis on developments in the 19th and 20th centuries.