Anita Auer presents a comparative study relating to the description, use and development of the inflectional subjunctive in English and German in the eighteenth century. She is concerned with the establishment of linguistic norms in the history of English and German, with a particular focus on the Austrian German variety, and the socio-political contexts in which these norms arose, as well as their influence on actual usage. The hitherto unresolved question of whether and to what extent prescriptive grammarians influenced the development of the subjunctive in both languages is examined and successfully evaluated through a close comparison between meta-linguistic comments (eighteenth-century grammars) and actual language usage (corpus study). Students and researchers of (socio-) historical linguistics in English and German as well as other languages
will find this study comprehensive, carefully researched and accessible.