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 170: Printers, Plague and Poets
In this episode, we examine the connection between poetry and plague in the early 1590s. An outbreak of the recurring sickness contributed to Shakespeare’s early career as a poet, and that poetry likely included his many sonnets. We also examine … Continue reading →
Episode 169: Shakespeare Documented
William Shakespeare is widely considered to be the most important writer in the history of the English language, but relatively little is known about his personal life. The desire to know more about the ‘Bard of Avon’ has led to … Continue reading →
Episode 168: Witches, Demons and Fairies
In this episode, we explore the Elizabethan fascination with witchcraft and mysterious creatures like fairies and demons. Those subjects feature prominently in the literature of the period, and they reveal a lot about the world view of the people who … Continue reading →
Episode 167: The Rhythm of English
All languages have their own rhythm and cadence, and English is no exception. That rhythm has actually shaped the language over time. It contributed to the structure of English poetry, and during the Elizabethan period, it shaped the way drama … Continue reading →
Bonus Episode: Rise and Fall of the Classic Movie Accent
In this episode from the Patreon archives, we examine the accent used by actors and actresses in very old movies. We look at the origin of that accent and examine why it was adopted by the film industry in the … Continue reading →
Episode 166: The Arte of Warre
In 1588, the Spanish Armada set sail for England in an attempt to depose Elizabeth I and replace her with a Spanish princess. In this episode, we examine how the English victory secured the status of English within the Church … Continue reading →
Exceptional detailed discussion of English from a historical perspective
History of English sometimes has been wandering off topic in recent episodes. E.g., who needs another rehash of Shakespeare's life: stick to his distinctive and innovative use of the language.
This podcast is excellent on the Old English and Middle English periods as well as such topics as the great vowel shift, the alphabet and foreign borrowings. Many thanks to the author for this series
Just an interesting, pleasant podcast
I really have enjoyed learning about the history of English and “why English is the way it is.”
A wonderful, captivating story!
Thank you for the work that you put into this podcast 🙏