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 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 →
Episode 142: The Great Vowel Shift (Part 2)
In this second part of our look at the Great Vowel Shift, we explore the movement of the vowel sounds located in the bottom front part of the mouth. We also examine how these sounds were traditionally spelled and how … Continue reading →
Episode 141: The Great Vowel Shift (Part 1)
The term ‘Great Vowel Shift’ was coined in the early 1900s by the Danish linguist Otto Jespersen to describe a systematic change in the long vowel sounds of English. The changes help to mark the transition from Middle English to … Continue reading →
Customer ReviewsSee All
One of best podcasts 10 stars (not 5)
Very interesting, very well narrated, lots of information in many fields not only in the English language, but also in British, French and world history, geography, philosophy etc. It’s absolutely captivating, I’ve learned so much. Highly recommend!
I have really enjoyed these podcasts and episode 145 was very interesting especially after drudging through the great vowel shift (sorry).
Love it from beginning to ... please never end!
Amazing podcast! Very well explained history and etymology.