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 147: A Rude and Rusty Language
The European Renaissance provided a transition to the early modern era by looking back to the culture of classical Greece and Rome. It led to a renewed interest in ancient Greek and Latin and a new world view known as … Continue reading →
Episode 146: A Brand New World
In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. The voyage marked the beginning of the European discovery of the Americas. Columbus encountered natives in the Caribbean who spoke a Native American dialect called Arawakan. As the Europeans encountered the native culture of … Continue reading →
Episode 145: A Sea Change for Europe
The period of European exploration and discovery began in the 1400s as part of an effort to find new trading routes to Africa and Asia. In this episode, we look at how European sailors and merchants began to think of … Continue reading →
Episode 144: A Murder of Crows and Princes
In the second half of the 1400s, there is written evidence of word play and new word formations within English. These new terms included words for the sounds made by animals and collective nouns for various groups of animals and … Continue reading →
Bonus Episode: Chaucer’s Purse and the Great Vowel Shift
In this bonus episode of the regular podcast, we explore the effects of the Great Vowel Shift on the pronunciation of English by reading Geoffrey Chaucer’s last known poem in Middle English, early Modern English and contemporary English.
Episode 143: The Great Vowel Shift (Part 3)
In this final episode about the sound changes associated with the Great Vowel Shift, we explore the vowel shifts that took place in the back of the mouth. We also explore how these changes impacted the way words are spelled … Continue reading →
History of English
I really love this podcast and look for new episodes every week. I’m not a linguist but I do have a general interest in language and history. This podcast is pitched just right for my level of knowledge and curiosity
Kevin does a wonderful job of bringing out the origins of our everyday language from the passages of history. It is a joy to listen to.
I am an absolute addict of this podcast. Kevin weaves a great mix of history and etymology and is an engaging speaker/storyteller. I’ve listened to most episodes at least twice, with some 3 or 4 times. Highly recommended.