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 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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
Episode 159: Elizabethan Voices
In 1569, an English scholar named John Hart published a manuscript called ‘An Orthographie.’ The text argued for a phonetic spelling system, and it provided one of the earliest detailed descriptions of the sounds of English. In this episode, we … Continue reading →
Episode 158: Planting Seeds
In the mid-1500s, England attempted to expand its influence in Ireland by establishing plantations there. This same process would soon be applied to North America. In this episode, we explore those early attempts at Irish colonization and England’s first encounters … Continue reading →
English seems so random sometimes, but this podcast shows how it all really all makes sense! Very fascinating!
Best podcast ever
The host has a great balance of being informative while being clear and easy to follow. This is the most intriguing way to experience history and the English language.
Thank you for gifting me an interest in language
Always sucked at English in school, wrote it off as something too difficult for me to understand. This is turning that around for me though. Thanks a lot!