176 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
    • 4.8 • 5.6K Ratings

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 165: Glamorous Grammar

    Episode 165: Glamorous Grammar

    William Bullokar composed the first formal grammar of the English language in 1586. Prior to that point, the concept of grammar had been largely restricted to Latin. Bullokar’s work extended the concept to English, but it did so by employing … Continue reading →

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Episode 164: Somewhere in the Middle

    Episode 164: Somewhere in the Middle

    Throughout her long reign, Queen Elizabeth I was faced with many difficult decisions, and she often chose a middle path when she could. In this episode, we explore the middle paths taken during her reign, and the consequences of those … Continue reading →

    • 1 hr 18 min
    Episode 163: An Elementary Education

    Episode 163: An Elementary Education

    By the second half of the Elizabethan period, the perception of English had changed significantly in England. It was increasingly perceived as a sophisticated language capable of matching the refinement of other European languages. One of the language’s most vocal … Continue reading →

    • 1 hr 9 min
    Episode 162: The Pirate Queen

    Episode 162: The Pirate Queen

    In the 1570s, Francis Drake plundered Spanish ships throughout the New World with the private permission of Elizabeth I. His actions marked the first direct challenge to Spanish naval supremacy in the region, and also marked the beginning the English … Continue reading →

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Episode 161: Y U and I Have a Problem

    Episode 161: Y U and I Have a Problem

    In this episode, we explore the complicated history of the letters Y, U and I, and we examine how they gave birth to the letters W, V and J. We also look at the Gothic script of the Middle Ages … Continue reading →

    • 1 hr 14 min
    Episode 160: Approximant-ly English

    Episode 160: Approximant-ly English

    In this episode, we explore the sounds represented by the letters L and R. Linguists refer to these sounds as ‘approximants,’ and they are some of the most challenging sounds in the English language. They are consonants with vowel-like qualities. … Continue reading →

    • 1 hr 19 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
5.6K Ratings

5.6K Ratings

Herr Professor J ,

Excellent podcast for anyone interested in linguistics or history

The History of English offers a clear, concise, and incisive overview of the development of English and the various historical contexts in which it emerged. The podcast traces this history back to the Indo-European roots of the language and surveys its debts to its multiple linguistic ancestors (proto-Germanic, ancient Greek, Latin, Old French, Old Norse, etc.). At the same time, the host repeatedly illuminates the ways that historical and modern linguists have reconstructed this history by drawing on evidence from modern languages, pre-modern literary texts and archaeological discoveries. I particularly enjoy the moments in which he pauses his narrative to provide examples of present-day English vocabulary that illustrate the historical development of the language. Who knew that the word ‘blow’ shares an etymological root with ‘blast,’ and that this root goes back to a belief among Anglo-Saxons that witches curse cattle by blowing on them?

joelclendineng ,

Great stuff

This is one of the best English language history podcasts out there. Included great context for the linguistic stuff, which makes it extremely interesting.

aaron gets ideas ,

Favorite podcast

Love this podcast so much. I've listened to multiple times through and I'm always so excited when a new episode comes out. Keep'em coming Kevin!

Top Podcasts In History

iHeartPodcasts
Wondery
Sarah Marshall
Dan Carlin
Audioboom Studios
Goalhanger Podcasts

You Might Also Like

David Crowther
Jamie Jeffers
History Hit
Scott C.
Wondery / Patrick Wyman
Samuel Hume