The History of English Podcast-logo

The History of English Podcast

History Podcasts >

A chronological history of the English language examined through the lens of historical events that shaped the development and spread of the language from the Eurasian steppe to the entire world.

A chronological history of the English language examined through the lens of historical events that shaped the development and spread of the language from the Eurasian steppe to the entire world.
More Information

Location:

United States

Description:

A chronological history of the English language examined through the lens of historical events that shaped the development and spread of the language from the Eurasian steppe to the entire world.

Language:

English


Episodes

Episode 119: The Road to War

12/13/2018
More
The Hundred Years War is one of the most well-known conflicts of the Middle Ages. The long, extended war introduced new weapons and new types of warfare, and it marked a transition from the traditional feudal state to the modern … Continue reading →

Duration:01:14:00

Bonus Episode: Regarding English (Sound Education Conference Talk)

11/29/2018
More
In November of 2018, I gave a talk at the Harvard Divinity School as part of the Sound Education Conference. The talk was an overview of the history of English called “Regarding English.” The final version of the speech was … Continue reading →

Duration:00:29:29

Episode 118: Trade Names

11/19/2018
More
Like much of western Europe, England experienced a significant growth in population during the two centuries after the Norman Conquest. By the 1300s, the percentage of the English population who lived in urban areas had doubled. As towns and cities … Continue reading →

Duration:01:07:45

Announcement: Next Episode and Lexitecture Podcast

11/13/2018
More
This is a quick update about the next episode. A cold is preventing me from recording the episode, so I am recommending that everyone check out the most recent episode of the Lexitecture Podcast featuring yours truly. The link is … Continue reading →

Duration:00:01:29

Episode 117: What’s In a Name?

10/16/2018
More
The origin of modern naming conventions can be traced to the period immediately following the Norman Conquest. Prior to the Conquest, almost all people in England had a single Anglo-Saxon name. After 1066, parents gave their children names borrowed from … Continue reading →

Duration:01:04:26

Episode 116: The Celtic Fringe

9/17/2018
More
In this episode, we explore the state of the English language outside of England in the early 1300s. This story takes us to the regions where Celtic languages were traditionally spoken. In some of those regions, English had little or … Continue reading →

Duration:01:00:47

Episode 115: The Measure of a Person

8/21/2018
More
For much of human history, common measurements of length were based on body parts and were variable from region to region. Most other measurements were also inconsistent. During the 1300s, these measurements started to be fixed and standardized for the … Continue reading →

Duration:01:03:32

Episode 114: The Craft of Numbering

7/26/2018
More
The words for numbers are some of the oldest and most conservative words in most languages. The English words for numbers can be traced back to the original Indo-European language, but during the early Middle English period, English speakers began … Continue reading →

Duration:01:07:18

Episode 113: A Zouthern Accent

6/27/2018
More
In this episode, we turn our attention to the south of England and examine some of the unique features of the Middle English dialects spoken there after the Norman Conquest. We also take a look at a poem composed in … Continue reading →

Duration:01:02:40

Episode 112: Northern Messenger

6/8/2018
More
At the dawn of the 14th century, Edward I was forced to deal with a popular uprising in Scotland. At the same time, a poet in northern England composed the oldest surviving poem in the Northern dialect of Middle English … Continue reading →

Duration:00:59:36

Episode 111: Laying Down the Law

5/10/2018
More
One of Edward I’s most notable accomplishments as King of England was the conquest of Wales, and his desire to extend that authority to the north of Britain led some to call him “The Hammer of the Scots.” But beyond … Continue reading →

Duration:01:02:26

Episode 110: Dyed In the Wool

4/7/2018
More
In this episode, we explore important role of the wool and cloth industries in Medieval England. Not only was England a major producer of sheep and wool, it also developed its own cloth industry in the 1300s. This was also … Continue reading →

Duration:01:03:17

Episode 109: The Romantic Warriors

3/8/2018
More
In the late 1200s, romantic literature started to be composed in English for the first time. The oldest surviving English romance is a poem called King Horn. In this episode, we explore the poem and examine the linguistic developments revealed … Continue reading →

Duration:00:56:25

Episode 108: On the Move

2/9/2018
More
In this episode, we look at the movement of people and their money in the 13th century. This was a period when international trading networks carried goods and people to the far-flung corners of the known world. This was also … Continue reading →

Duration:00:55:53

Episode 107: Parlez-Vous Anglais?

1/15/2018
More
Even though English writing started to re-emerge in the early 1200s, government and legal documents remained the exclusive domain of Latin and French. English finally found a voice in the English government in the mid-1200s with a series of government … Continue reading →

Duration:00:49:10

Episode 106: An Illuminating Development

12/31/2017
More
The 12th and 13th centuries saw the saw the transfer of book production from monasteries to professional bookmakers. In this episode, we look at the birth of the Medieval book trade. We also examine how early illuminators worked with color, … Continue reading →

Duration:00:57:23

Episode 105: Suffix Summary

12/25/2017
More
In this episode, we explore some of the suffixes that were in common use in the early 1200s at the time the Ancrene Wisse was composed. These include traditional Old English suffixes, as well as several new suffixes that were … Continue reading →

Duration:00:48:28

Episode 104: Prefix Preferences

12/18/2017
More
During the early Middle English period, many loanwords from Latin and French were borrowed into English. Very often, those loanwords came in with prefixes and suffixes that were new to the English language. Many of those new affixes appear for … Continue reading →

Duration:00:57:33

Episode 103: Solitary Confinement

12/2/2017
More
The early 13th century saw the rise of a monastic movement in which men and women locked themselves away in secluded cells to practice their religion. These monks were known as anchorites, and an early Middle English text called the … Continue reading →

Duration:00:57:28

Episode 102: A Medieval Glossary

11/6/2017
More
In this episode, we explore the notes and translations left behind by scribes in the margins of Medieval manuscripts. Those marginal notes reveal numerous insights about the state of English in the early 1200s. Those early glosses and translations also … Continue reading →

Duration:00:59:24