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A Biography of the English Language
February 15, 2022 at 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST
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In this salon, we’ll turn back time to see how English once looked and sounded. We’ll look at how everything from the pronunciation to the grammar to the meaning of the words in the language has changed over the years. As we go, we’ll uncover the vast historical knowledge hidden even in everyday words.
We’ll also spotlight three great authors from the long history of the English language, and show how an understanding of their language can give us a deeper understanding of their works and times.
- Modern English through Shakespeare (yes, Shakespeare wrote Modern English – this may sound surprising; we’ll talk about that too!)
- Middle English through Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales
- Old English through Beowulf
Watch the following to get in the mood for some historical linguistics of English:
- Simon Roper’s video Monarchs’ Accents Through the Ages
- A.Z. Foreman’s video 13 Centuries of Spoken English, in Two Minutes and Twenty Seconds
- David and Ben Crystal’s Open University video Shakespeare: Original Pronunciation
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