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The History of English Podcast

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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.
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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

Bonus Episode: The Life of Guy – An Interview with Allan Metcalf

9/10/2019
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In this bonus episode, Kevin interviews Allan Metcalf about his new book, “The Life of Guy: Guy Fawkes, the Gunpowder Plot, and the Unlikely History of an Indispensable Word.”

Duration:00:22:59

Episode 128: The Canterbury Tellers

8/23/2019
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The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories told by pilgrims during their trek to Canterbury Cathedral. The pilgrims represent a cross-section of English society in the late 1300s, and Geoffrey Chaucer paints a vivid picture of each one. He … Continue reading →

Duration:00:59:14

Episode 127: The Road to Canterbury

7/24/2019
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In the mid-1380s, Geoffrey Chaucer gave up his London job and residence and moved to Kent along the pilgrimage route to Canterbury. This move inspired the creation of the Canterbury Tales which remains the most well-known work of Middle English … Continue reading →

Duration:01:02:42

Episode 126: A New Turn of Phrase

6/26/2019
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During the Middle English period, English grammar and syntax underwent significant changes. Old inflectional endings continued to erode, and new phrases were introduced in their place. The writings of Geoffrey Chaucer reflect these changes, so we examine Chaucer’s House of … Continue reading →

Duration:01:09:09

Episode 125: The First English Bible

5/28/2019
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Many people are familiar with the King James Bible, but over two centuries earlier, an Oxford theologian named John Wycliffe produced the first Bible composed in the English language. Together with a group of close associates, he produced a Bible … Continue reading →

Duration:01:09:37

Announcement: Intelligent Speech Conference, NYC, June 29

5/4/2019
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The Agora Podcasting Network is arranging a history podcasting conference in New York City on June 29, 2019. It will feature history podcasters like Kevin Stroud, David Crowther (History of England Podcast), Mike Duncan (History of Rome Podcast and Revolutions … Continue reading →

Duration:00:01:18

Episode 124: Piers Plowman and the Peasant Revolt

4/24/2019
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The 14th century poem called Piers Plowman has intrigued and perplexed readers for over six centuries. In the 14th century, it was embraced by peasants who used it as inspiration in their struggle against the upper classes of England. That … Continue reading →

Duration:01:09:56

Episode 123: A Material Change

3/27/2019
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In the 1300s, the scribes of England began a gradual shift from the use of animal hides like parchment to a new material made from plant fibers. That new writing material was paper. In this episode, we explore the history … Continue reading →

Duration:01:06:16

Episode 122: The Name of the Game

2/28/2019
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In 1363, the king of England tried to ban all sports other than archery in order to ensure English supremacy with the longbow. The ban had little effect, however, as the people of England continued to play ball games and … Continue reading →

Duration:01:04:17

Episode 121: English Ascent

1/30/2019
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In the years immediately following the Black Death, a labor shortage in the countryside led to the rise of yeomen and other rural laborers. The rise of these English-speaking classes led to corresponding rise in the prestige of English. The … Continue reading →

Duration:01:00:51

Episode 120: The End of the World

12/31/2018
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In the mid-1300s, most of Europe was devastated by a massive plague known today as the Black Death. The disease killed about one-third of the population of England, and an even higher percentage of clerics and teachers who were trained … Continue reading →

Duration:00:59:20

Episode 119: The Road to War

12/13/2018
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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