149 episodes

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.

The History of English Podcast Kevin Stroud

    • History

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.

    Episode 139: The Business of Printing

    Episode 139: The Business of Printing

    William Caxton introduced the mass production of books to England in the 1470s. He was also the first person to print books in the English language via the printing press. Caxton’s publications reveal the priorities and concerns of a businessman, … Continue reading →

    • 1 hr 11 min
    Episode 138: Family Matters

    Episode 138: Family Matters

    In the 1400s, rising literacy rates and access to cheap paper combined to produce the first collections of personal letters in the English language. One of the earliest letter collections was maintained by the Paston family of Norfolk. Their letters … Continue reading →

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Episode 137: A Rose By Any Other Name

    Episode 137: A Rose By Any Other Name

    The rose is one of the most beloved flowers in western Europe, and it has a long association with English royalty.  In this episode, we explore the history of English gardens and the use of the rose as a symbol … Continue reading →

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Episode 136: The Real Robin Hood

    Episode 136: The Real Robin Hood

    The legend of Robin Hood has its origins in the murky history of England after the Norman Conquest, but the first written examples of Robin Hood ballads don’t appear until the mid-1400s. In this episode, we examine the earliest references … Continue reading →

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Bonus Episode: Stay at Home Edition

    Bonus Episode: Stay at Home Edition

    In this bonus ‘stay at home’ episode, we explore several words and phrases that appeared for the first time in the first half of the 15th century, including “turnpike,” “to curry favor,” “budget,” “average,” “peculiar,” “hogwash,” and others.

    • 28 min
    Episode 135: A House of Cards

    Episode 135: A House of Cards

    In the early 1400s, playing cards made their first appearance in England. Those cards provide evidence of an early form of printing, but it would take another generation for Johannes Gutenberg to invent the printing press. In this episode we … Continue reading →

    • 1 hr 16 min

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