Cover image of The History of English Podcast
(3346)

Rank #53 in History category

History

The History of English Podcast

Updated 3 days ago

Rank #53 in History category

History
Read more

The Spoken History of a Global Language

Read more

The Spoken History of a Global Language

iTunes Ratings

3346 Ratings
Average Ratings
3098
127
65
36
20

History of English

By GiorgosTheodorakis - Nov 30 2019
Read more
This is a great service to history, to the language, and to intelligence. Thank you!

Fascinating

By RobinBea - Nov 13 2019
Read more
Extremely thorough, but surprisingly accessible. A must for any language geek.

iTunes Ratings

3346 Ratings
Average Ratings
3098
127
65
36
20

History of English

By GiorgosTheodorakis - Nov 30 2019
Read more
This is a great service to history, to the language, and to intelligence. Thank you!

Fascinating

By RobinBea - Nov 13 2019
Read more
Extremely thorough, but surprisingly accessible. A must for any language geek.

Listen to:

Cover image of The History of English Podcast

The History of English Podcast

Updated 3 days ago

Read more

The Spoken History of a Global Language

Episode 3: The Indo-European Family Tree

Podcast cover
Read more
A look at the family tree of Indo-European languages and the relationship of English to those related languages. The closest relatives of English are highlighted, including the Germanic languages, Latin and Greek. We explore the background of English from the … Continue reading →

Jul 02 2012

34mins

Play

Episode 4: A Grimm Brother Resurrects the Dead (…language)

Podcast cover
Read more
The famous fairy-tale collector Jacob Grimm formulated the rules which help modern linguists reconstruct the ancient Indo-European language.  In this episode, we look at Grimm’s Law and how the Germanic languages evolved from the original ancestral language.

Jul 11 2012

50mins

Play

Episode 125: The First English Bible

Podcast cover
Read more

Many people are familiar with the King James Bible, but over two centuries earlier, an Oxford theologian named John Wycliffe produced the first Bible composed in the English language. Together with a group of close associates, he produced a Bible that was read throughout England. In this episode, we explore the events leading to this translation, and we also examine how the Wycliffe Bible impacted the English language.

May 28 2019

1hr 9mins

Play

Episode 72: The Dark Ages of English

Podcast cover
Read more
The early part of the 12th century represented the darkest days of the English language.  English writing had almost disappeared, and spoken English was divided among a variety of regional dialects that were often incomprehensible to speakers in other parts … Continue reading →

Jan 11 2016

Play

Episode 80: Knight Life

Podcast cover
Read more
Much of the devastation of the Anarchy was carried out by knights who acted as thugs and bullies. For several generations, knights had served as the strongmen of western Europe. By the 12th century, the nature of knighthood was starting to change. … Continue reading →

Jun 23 2016

1hr 4mins

Play

Episode 67: The Year That Changed English

Podcast cover
Read more
In this episode, we look at the events of 1066 – one of the most important dates in the history of English. Of course, this was the year of the Norman Conquest and the beginning of the end of Old … Continue reading →

Sep 18 2015

Play

Episode 97: Let’s Put It In Writing

Podcast cover
Read more
The early 13th Century saw a massive increase in the production of government documents, including charters and official letters.  In this episode, we explore the changing role of the written word in the Middle Ages. We also examine how King … Continue reading →

Jul 27 2017

1hr 2mins

Play

Episode 117: What’s In a Name?

Podcast cover
Read more
The origin of modern naming conventions can be traced to the period immediately following the Norman Conquest. Prior to the Conquest, almost all people in England had a single Anglo-Saxon name.  After 1066, parents gave their children names borrowed from … Continue reading →

Oct 16 2018

1hr 4mins

Play

Episode 94: From British Legend to English King

Podcast cover
Read more
The first version of the King Arthur legend to be composed in English is found in Layamon’s 13th century poem called Brut.  In this episode, we explore Layamon’s version of the story, and we examine how the text reveals certain … Continue reading →

May 24 2017

1hr 5mins

Play

Episode 88: The Long and Short of It

Podcast cover
Read more
The Middle English document called the Ormulum is a goldmine for historical linguists because the text explicitly indicated how the vowel sounds in the text were to be pronounced.  The text was written at a time when the vowels in many words were changing. … Continue reading →

Jan 04 2017

53mins

Play

Episode 43: Anglo-Saxon Monsters and Mythology

Podcast cover
Read more
Many Anglo-Saxons believed in a world inhabited by monsters and mythological creatures. They also believed in the power of sorcery and witchcraft. These ideas are reflected in the literature of the Anglo-Saxons, most notably the epic poem Beowulf. In this … Continue reading →

May 21 2014

Play

Episode 126: A New Turn of Phrase

Podcast cover
Read more

During the Middle English period, English grammar and syntax underwent significant changes. Old inflectional endings continued to erode, and new phrases were introduced in their place. The writings of Geoffrey Chaucer reflect these changes, so we examine Chaucer’s House of Fame and Troilus and Criseyde for evidence of the newly emerging grammar and syntax.

Jun 26 2019

1hr 9mins

Play

Episode 5: Centum, Satem and the Letter C

Podcast cover
Read more
A look at the early division of the Indo-European languages into the Centum and Satem languages.  The sound shift which marks the division of the Centum and Satem languages is then explored in the context of the modern English letter … Continue reading →

Jul 18 2012

43mins

Play

Episode 28: Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians

Podcast cover
Read more
We explore the origins of the Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians in the North Sea region of northern Europe. The early raids on the coasts of Britain and Gaul set the stage for the later mass migrations. The similarities between … Continue reading →

Aug 07 2013

Play

Episode 55: To Be or Not To Be

Podcast cover
Read more
‘To be or not to be?’ That may be the question. But where did the various forms of our modern verb ‘to be’ come from?  And what about other Shakespearean phrases like ‘he hath,’ and ‘thou shalt,’ and ‘fear not?’ … Continue reading →

Dec 30 2014

Play

Episode 106: An Illuminating Development

Podcast cover
Read more
The 12th and 13th centuries saw the saw the transfer of book production from monasteries to professional bookmakers. In this episode, we look at the birth of the Medieval book trade. We also examine how early illuminators worked with color, … Continue reading →

Dec 31 2017

57mins

Play

Episode 44: The Romance of Old French

Podcast cover
Read more
The modern French language evolved from a Latin dialect spoken in Gaul during the period of the late Roman Empire. That language ultimately became mixed with Old English after the Norman Conquest of 1066. Approximately half of the words in … Continue reading →

Jun 06 2014

Play

Episode 31: Saxons, Franks and Other West Germans

Podcast cover
Read more
During the period of the Anglo-Saxon migrations, the West Germanic tribes of northern Europe continued to fight for power against the Romans and against each other. This period saw the emergence of the High German dialects, the creation of the … Continue reading →

Sep 25 2013

Play

Episode 37: Seafarers, Poets and Traveling Minstrels

Podcast cover
Read more
Old English poets were ‘word weavers’ who often created new words to comply with the strict requirements of Germanic poetry. In this episode, we explore the role of the traveling minstrel in Anglo-Saxon culture.  We also explore the etymology of … Continue reading →

Jan 21 2014

Play

Episode 17: Ancient Celts and the Latin Invasion of Gaul

Podcast cover
Read more
We look at the arrival of Celtic speaking people in Europe, and the invasion of Celtic Gaul by the Romans. Celtic is replaced by Latin in Western Europe, leading to the modern Romance languages. Celtic words in modern English are … Continue reading →

Aug 05 2013

Play

Episode 131: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Podcast cover
Read more

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is one of the most popular English poems of the Middle Ages. In this episode, we explore the language and story of the poem. We also examine how the poem reflects certain changes that were taking place within the English language in the late 1300s.

Nov 25 2019

1hr 16mins

Play

Episode 130: Dialect Dialogues

Podcast cover
Read more

Geoffrey Chaucer was one of the first English writers to compose dialogue in regional dialects to reflect the way characters spoke in the different parts of England. In this episode, we explore the dialogue of Chaucer’s northern students in the Reeve’s Tale, and we also examine the Second Shepherd’s Play from the north of England which reflects a similar approach to regional dialects.

Oct 22 2019

55mins

Play

Episode 129: Chaucer’s Vulgar Tongue [EXPLICIT LANGUAGE]

Podcast cover
Read more

Geoffrey Chaucer was one of the few poets of the Middle Ages to explore the vulgar side of English and the connection between the common people and their language. The Miller’s Tale exemplifies this style. In this episode, we explore the history of swearing and obscenities, and we examine Chaucer’s use of bawdy language in the Miller’s Tale.

Sep 25 2019

1hr 15mins

Play

Bonus Episode: The Life of Guy – An Interview with Allan Metcalf

Podcast cover
Read more

In this bonus episode, Kevin interviews Allan Metcalf about his new book, “The Life of Guy: Guy Fawkes, the Gunpowder Plot, and the Unlikely History of an Indispensable Word.”

Sep 10 2019

22mins

Play

Episode 128: The Canterbury Tellers

Podcast cover
Read more

The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories told by pilgrims during their trek to Canterbury Cathedral. The pilgrims represent a cross-section of English society in the late 1300s, and Geoffrey Chaucer paints a vivid picture of each one. He also modifies his language to fit the social class of each character. In this episode, we explore the descriptions of the various pilgrims in the General Prologue of the Canterbury Tales, and we examine how the language of the poem reflects the state of the English language in the late 1300s.

Aug 23 2019

59mins

Play

Episode 127: The Road to Canterbury

Podcast cover
Read more

In the mid-1380s, Geoffrey Chaucer gave up his London job and residence and moved to Kent along the pilgrimage route to Canterbury. This move inspired the creation of the Canterbury Tales which remains the most well-known work of Middle English literature. In this episode, we explore the background of the poem and the circumstances which led Chaucer to abandon London in favor of Kent. We also examine the opening lines of the General Prologue of the poem.

Jul 24 2019

1hr 2mins

Play

Episode 126: A New Turn of Phrase

Podcast cover
Read more

During the Middle English period, English grammar and syntax underwent significant changes. Old inflectional endings continued to erode, and new phrases were introduced in their place. The writings of Geoffrey Chaucer reflect these changes, so we examine Chaucer’s House of Fame and Troilus and Criseyde for evidence of the newly emerging grammar and syntax.

Jun 26 2019

1hr 9mins

Play

Episode 125: The First English Bible

Podcast cover
Read more

Many people are familiar with the King James Bible, but over two centuries earlier, an Oxford theologian named John Wycliffe produced the first Bible composed in the English language. Together with a group of close associates, he produced a Bible that was read throughout England. In this episode, we explore the events leading to this translation, and we also examine how the Wycliffe Bible impacted the English language.

May 28 2019

1hr 9mins

Play

Episode 124: Piers Plowman and the Peasant Revolt

Podcast cover
Read more

The 14th century poem called Piers Plowman has intrigued and perplexed readers for over six centuries. In the 14th century, it was embraced by peasants who used it as inspiration in their struggle against the upper classes of England. That struggle culminated in a major peasant uprising in the early 1380s. In this episode, we explore the connections between Piers Plowman and the Peasant Revolt.

Apr 24 2019

1hr 9mins

Play

Episode 123: A Material Change

Podcast cover
Read more

In the 1300s, the scribes of England began a gradual shift from the use of animal hides like parchment to a new material made from plant fibers. That new writing material was paper. In this episode, we explore the history of paper, and we examine the fundamental connection between texts and textiles.

Mar 27 2019

1hr 6mins

Play

Episode 122: The Name of the Game

Podcast cover
Read more
In 1363, the king of England tried to ban all sports other than archery in order to ensure English supremacy with the longbow. The ban had little effect, however, as the people of England continued to play ball games and … Continue reading →

Feb 28 2019

1hr 4mins

Play

Episode 121: English Ascent

Podcast cover
Read more
In the years immediately following the Black Death, a labor shortage in the countryside led to the rise of yeomen and other rural laborers. The rise of these English-speaking classes led to corresponding rise in the prestige of English. The … Continue reading →

Jan 30 2019

1hr

Play

Episode 120: The End of the World

Podcast cover
Read more
In the mid-1300s, most of Europe was devastated by a massive plague known today as the Black Death. The disease killed about one-third of the population of England, and an even higher percentage of clerics and teachers who were trained … Continue reading →

Dec 31 2018

59mins

Play

Episode 119: The Road to War

Podcast cover
Read more
The Hundred Years War is one of the most well-known conflicts of the Middle Ages.  The long, extended war introduced new weapons and new types of warfare, and it marked a transition from the traditional feudal state to the modern … Continue reading →

Dec 13 2018

1hr 13mins

Play

Bonus Episode: Regarding English (Sound Education Conference Talk)

Podcast cover
Read more
In November of 2018, I gave a talk at the Harvard Divinity School as part of the Sound Education Conference. The talk was an overview of the history of English called “Regarding English.”  The final version of the speech was … Continue reading →

Nov 29 2018

29mins

Play

Episode 118: Trade Names

Podcast cover
Read more
Like much of western Europe, England experienced a significant growth in population during the two centuries after the Norman Conquest. By the 1300s, the percentage of the English population who lived in urban areas had doubled. As towns and cities … Continue reading →

Nov 19 2018

1hr 7mins

Play

Episode 117: What’s In a Name?

Podcast cover
Read more
The origin of modern naming conventions can be traced to the period immediately following the Norman Conquest. Prior to the Conquest, almost all people in England had a single Anglo-Saxon name.  After 1066, parents gave their children names borrowed from … Continue reading →

Oct 16 2018

1hr 4mins

Play

Episode 116: The Celtic Fringe

Podcast cover
Read more
In this episode, we explore the state of the English language outside of England in the early 1300s. This story takes us to the regions where Celtic languages were traditionally spoken. In some of those regions, English had little or … Continue reading →

Sep 17 2018

1hr

Play

Episode 115: The Measure of a Person

Podcast cover
Read more
For much of human history, common measurements of length were based on body parts and were variable from region to region. Most other measurements were also inconsistent. During the 1300s, these measurements started to be fixed and standardized for the … Continue reading →

Aug 21 2018

1hr 3mins

Play

Episode 114: The Craft of Numbering

Podcast cover
Read more
The words for numbers are some of the oldest and most conservative words in most languages.  The English words for numbers can be traced back to the original Indo-European language, but during the early Middle English period, English speakers began … Continue reading →

Jul 26 2018

1hr 7mins

Play