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History

The History of English Podcast

Updated 7 days ago

History
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The Spoken History of a Global Language

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The Spoken History of a Global Language

iTunes Ratings

3519 Ratings
Average Ratings
3248
139
68
43
21

Engaging history!

By jillyblue - Feb 19 2020
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Absolutely charming podcast! A great blend of history and language. Good pace and interesting content. Each episode is unique and well written. I’m at episode 68 and it is fantastic! Thank you!!

The best

By Empress Livia - Jan 07 2020
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This is the kind of podcast you just want to listen to all the time and over and over.

iTunes Ratings

3519 Ratings
Average Ratings
3248
139
68
43
21

Engaging history!

By jillyblue - Feb 19 2020
Read more
Absolutely charming podcast! A great blend of history and language. Good pace and interesting content. Each episode is unique and well written. I’m at episode 68 and it is fantastic! Thank you!!

The best

By Empress Livia - Jan 07 2020
Read more
This is the kind of podcast you just want to listen to all the time and over and over.
Cover image of The History of English Podcast

The History of English Podcast

Latest release on Feb 20, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 7 days ago

Rank #1: Episode 3: The Indo-European Family Tree

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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

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Rank #2: Episode 4: A Grimm Brother Resurrects the Dead (…language)

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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

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Rank #3: Episode 125: The First English Bible

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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 … Continue reading →

May 28 2019

1hr 9mins

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Rank #4: Bonus Episode 7: Stuffed Animals

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In this bonus episode we look at the etymology of certain words related to animals. We also examine words related to stuffing.

Jun 25 2015

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Rank #5: Episode 126: A New Turn of Phrase

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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

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Rank #6: Episode 80: Knight Life

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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

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Rank #7: Episode 5: Centum, Satem and the Letter C

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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

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Rank #8: Episode 127: The Road to Canterbury

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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

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Rank #9: Episode 45: To Coin a Phrase – and Money

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At the end of the 8th century, Western Europe saw its most powerful kings to date.  That included Charlemagne in Francia and Offa in Britain.  Those kings shared a close relationship which extended to their currency. The establishment of an … Continue reading →

Jun 26 2014

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Rank #10: Episode 71: On The Hunt

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In this episode, we explore the events leading to the death of William the Conqueror. And we’ll look at the reign of his son and namesake, William Rufus. The story of William’s succession is also the story of a sibling … Continue reading →

Dec 05 2015

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Rank #11: Episode 94: From British Legend to English King

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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

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Rank #12: Episode 12: Early Greek, Hittite and the Trojan War

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The first Greek and Hittite civilizations emerge from Indo-European tribes in the eastern Mediterranean. The Greeks adopt an early form of writing and fight the Trojans. An alphabet allows the ancient history of the Greeks to be recorded in the … Continue reading →

Aug 05 2013

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Rank #13: Episode 117: What’s In a Name?

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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

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Rank #14: Episode 128: The Canterbury Tellers

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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

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Rank #15: Episode 37: Seafarers, Poets and Traveling Minstrels

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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

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Rank #16: Episode 85: How to Run an Empire

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The massive realm of Henry II extended from southern France through the British Isles. The administration of the so-called “Angevin Empire” required an extensive bureaucracy. In this episode, we examine some of the key government officials who administered the government … Continue reading →

Oct 24 2016

59mins

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Rank #17: Episode 84: Law, Order and Murder

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In the wake of civil war and anarchy in England, a crime wave gripped the nation. Murders and other violent crimes were rampant. Henry II sought to reimpose law and order throughout the country by reforming the English legal system. … Continue reading →

Sep 29 2016

1hr

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Rank #18: Episode 44: The Romance of Old French

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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

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Rank #19: Episode 82: A Marriage for the Ages

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The marriage of Matilda’s son, Henry, to Eleanor of Aquitaine was a crucial event in the history of England and France. It produced a powerful realm which contributed to the return of peace and the end of Anarchy.  In this … Continue reading →

Aug 03 2016

52mins

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Rank #20: Episode 121: English Ascent

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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

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