The History of English Podcast

History Podcasts

The Spoken History of a Global Language

Location:

United States

Description:

The Spoken History of a Global Language

Language:

English


Episodes

Episode 165: Glamorous Grammar

1/30/2023
William Bullokar composed the first formal grammar of the English language in 1586. Prior to that point, the concept of grammar had been largely restricted to Latin. Bullokar’s work extended the concept to English, but it did so by employing … Continue reading →

Duration:01:01:34

Episode 164: Somewhere in the Middle

12/20/2022
Throughout her long reign, Queen Elizabeth I was faced with many difficult decisions, and she often chose a middle path when she could. In this episode, we explore the middle paths taken during her reign, and the consequences of those … Continue reading →

Duration:01:18:56

Episode 163: An Elementary Education

11/9/2022
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 →

Duration:01:09:53

Episode 162: The Pirate Queen

10/6/2022
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 →

Duration:01:07:45

Episode 161: Y U and I Have a Problem

8/31/2022
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 →

Duration:01:14:30

Episode 160: Approximant-ly English

7/15/2022
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 →

Duration:01:19:42

Episode 159: Elizabethan Voices

5/18/2022
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 →

Duration:01:18:51

Episode 158: Planting Seeds

4/6/2022
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 →

Duration:01:05:39

Episode 157: Highlands, Lowlands and Netherlands

3/4/2022
During the first decade of the reign of Elizabeth I, Protestants in Scotland and the Netherlands rebelled against the Catholic authorities who controlled those countries. Those rebellions were supported by England, and eventually Scotland and the Netherlands joined England as … Continue reading →

Duration:01:10:04

Episode 156: Beggars, Cheats and Thieves

2/4/2022
In the 1500s, England saw a significant rise in the number of beggars and vagabonds. Those who couldn’t survive by begging often turned to thievery, gambling and fraud. By the mid-1500s, books and pamphlets were being published that highlighted the … Continue reading →

Duration:01:07:43

Episode 155: Back to Basics

1/4/2022
In the 1553, Mary Tudor became the first queen to rule England as the head of the government. She promptly turned back the clock on the religious reforms that had taken place over the prior few years. Meanwhile, scholars of … Continue reading →

Duration:01:05:04

Episode 154: English Equality

11/30/2021
By the mid-1500s, scholars were becoming more confident in the ability of English to express sophisticated ideas and concepts associated with classical learning. Writers began to use English beside Latin and Greek in many scholarly works during this period. English … Continue reading →

Duration:01:01:10

Episode 153: Zombie Letters

10/30/2021
In early Modern English, writers and printers began to revise the spelling of many English words to reflect their etymological origins. Old letters were revived from the dead to reflect sounds that had disappeared over time in those words. This … Continue reading →

Duration:01:11:07

Episode 152: As the Saying Goes

9/29/2021
John Heywood was a playwright and poet who made two important contributions to the history of English. He was a key figure in the emergence of modern English drama which led directly to William Shakespeare at the end of the … Continue reading →

Duration:01:03:20

Episode 151: Sick to Death

8/29/2021
During the reign of Henry VIII, medical books and herbals proved to be some of the most popular publications in England. The people of England wanted medical books that they could read in the own language. The largely unregulated medical … Continue reading →

Duration:01:13:53

Episode 150: A Capital Offense

7/29/2021
In the 1530s, Henry VIII declared himself to be the ‘Supreme Head’ of the Church of England, and he demanded absolute loyalty from his subjects. Those who crossed him risked the loss of their heads. Meanwhile, the modern punctuation system started … Continue reading →

Duration:01:14:41

Episode 149: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

6/28/2021
In the years following Martin Luther’s protest against the Catholic Church, small fractures soon turned into a major rift. The Protestant Reformation led to the break-up of the Western Church. Meanwhile in England, the marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine … Continue reading →

Duration:01:06:39

Episode 148: A Marital Union

5/26/2021
In the early 1500s, a series of marriages between European royal families re-shaped the face of Europe and brought together separate regions under the leadership of a single ruler. This led to creation of modern Spain and the formation of … Continue reading →

Duration:01:09:41

Episode 147: A Rude and Rusty Language

4/28/2021
The European Renaissance provided a transition to the early modern era by looking back to the culture of classical Greece and Rome. It led to a renewed interest in ancient Greek and Latin and a new world view known as … Continue reading →

Duration:00:58:22

Episode 146: A Brand New World

3/24/2021
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 →

Duration:01:20:04