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The History of English in Ten Minutes: Track 1

Featuring: Video Video

Where did the phrase ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’ come from? And when did scientists finally get round to naming sexual body parts? Voiced by Clive Anderson, this entertaining romp through 'The History of English' squeezes 1600 years of history into 10 one-minute bites, uncovering the sources of English words and phrases from Shakespeare and the King James Bible to America and the Internet. Bursting with fascinating facts, the series looks at how English grew from a small tongue into a major global language before reflecting on the future of English in the 21st century.

By: The iTunes U team (Programme and web teams)

  • Duration 20 mins
  • Updated Wednesday 22nd June 2011
  • Introductory level
  • Posted under English Language
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Track 1: Anglo-Saxon

A look at what words the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings bought to the English language.


© The Open University 2011


Tracks in this podcast:

Track   Title Description
1 Anglo-Saxon    A look at what words the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings bought to the English language. Play now Anglo-Saxon
2 The Norman Conquest    In 1066, William the Conqueror invaded Britain and bought with him fancy French words to add to the English language. Play now The Norman Conquest
3 Shakespeare    This video tells us that Shakespeare invented over 2000 new words and phrases like eyeball, anchovy and puppy. Play now Shakespeare
4 The King James Bible    Illustrating that in 1611, the new King James Bible was created and gave us many famous phrases. Play now The King James Bible
5 The English of Science    In the 17th Century, new science words were being created like acid, ovary and tonsil. Play now The English of Science
6 English and Empire    Exploring how the British Empire spread across the world bringing back many new words and phrases. Play now English and Empire
7 The Age of the Dictionary    A look at how lexicographers started creating the Dictionary of the English Language to ensure that everyone spelt words correctly and knew their correct definition. Play now The Age of the Dictionary
8 American English    Learn about American-English and how some American words were actually English to start with. Play now American English
9 Internet English    Exploring the expansion of internet language, with abbreviations like lol and btw. Play now Internet English
10 Global English    The future of English and the many hybrids that have been created. Should we still call it English? Play now Global English

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