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 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 →
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 →
Customer ReviewsSee All
My absolute FAVORITE podcast.
Such a gem of a podcast! well researched and well writtten. Kevin takes us through history and it’s fascinating. No annoying music or lame narration so common with other history podcasts.
History of English
Very entertaining and educational podcast. Kevin takes it slow and thereby presents clearly the key history and even prehistory events that shaped English language in its various forms past and present.
Well spoken, well researched
Was recommended this podcast from a friend and it absolutely hits the mark.
An even-keeled tone flows throughout as Kevin walks us through the history of our language.