History of the English Language

History of the English Language Sixteen centuries ago a wave of settlers from northern Europe came to the British Isles speaking a mix of Germanic dialects thick with consonants and complex grammatical forms Today we call that diale

Sixteen centuries ago a wave of settlers from northern Europe came to the British Isles speaking a mix of Germanic dialects thick with consonants and complex grammatical forms Today we call that dialect Old English, the ancestor of the language nearly one in five people in the world speaks every day.How did this ancient tongue evolve into the elegant idiom of Chaucer, ShaSixteen centuries ago a wave of settlers from northern Europe came to the British Isles speaking a mix of Germanic dialects thick with consonants and complex grammatical forms Today we call that dialect Old English, the ancestor of the language nearly one in five people in the world speaks every day.How did this ancient tongue evolve into the elegant idiom of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Twain, Melville, and other great writers What features of modern English spelling and vocabulary link it to its Old English roots How did English grammar become so streamlined Why did its pronunciation undergo such drastic changes How do we even know what English sounded like in the distant past And how does English continue to develop to the present day The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition, is Professor Seth Lerer s revised and updated investigation of the remarkable history of English, from the powerful prose of King Alfred in the Middle Ages to the modern day sermons of Martin Luther King, Jr.Throughout its history, English has been an unusually mutable language, readily accepting new terms and new ways of conveying meaning Professor Lerer brings this second edition up to date by including discussions of the latest changes brought about through such phenomena as hip hop, e mail, text messaging, and the world wide web.Are you a logophile someone who Pauses over a word to wonder about its origin Stops to consider

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History of the English Language

  1. Professor Seth Lerer 1956 is a contemporary Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Stanford University, specialising in historical analyses of the English language, in addition to critical analyses of the works of several authors, including in particular Geoffrey Chaucer.

638 Reply to “History of the English Language”

  1. Update I loved this book a lot when it was discussing the Indo European roots of the language write up until Samuel Johnson I ve kind of got a bit bored with it since then But suddenly I am not bored, I am ANGRY and what I am angry about is probably going to upset all you Americans.I ve got up to the chapter on the Declaration of Independence which Lehrer things is written in a very erudite manner by Jefferson who would have chosen the words knowing their Latin, or otherwise roots Well I m not s [...]


  2. This is a 36 lecture course, each lecture being thirty minutes in length The subject is fascinating, and Lerer is obviously learned and highly articulate if intermittently frustratingly dry and pedantic, nevertheless, to the listener s relief, often highly witty as well In the first third of the course, Lerer focuses on the development of Old English from its roots in Germanic languages, in turn hearkening back to Indo European, then moving forward through the period of the Norman Conquest, not [...]


  3. This was one of my most favorite books ever I have listened to it in Audio format 2 times and found it to be very enlightening Topics such as Indo european How we know how dead languages were probably pronounced, the great vowel shift just prior to Shakespeare s time and why the dialect of poor southern blacks in the USA is a very sophisticated language that follows the rules of good grammar are all covered in an historical context I found my self coming away with much enlightenment and with ong [...]


  4. I love these lectures I ve listened to them all at least once, and many of the others three or four times They are very informative, as well as interesting, which is sometimes hard to accomplish in this subject, even for people who love it, like me.


  5. This subject is a so interesting it s getting me all freaky and reverent In point of fact, I m quite literally awe struck I m agog as it were Professor Seth Lerer is wizardly He is a warlock He s a shaman He s Gandalf the white He hath one eye open to the other realm This course is clearly his master work It seems like that anyway It s so brilliant, developed and rich that I am left to assume that it took a lifetime of hard work to create If not like if it s just one of his many than I give up o [...]


  6. This is truly a masterpiece Delivered by a gifted lecturer with a pipe tobacco and scotch voice for pronouncing ancient tongues and a unique and enjoyable pentameter in speaking He is able to take the arcane and ancient and make it curious and alive, which is an important skill when one is speaking about the syntax of ancient french I have successfully delivered many tidbits from this lecture to friends and students, and continue to productively reflect on the content to this day.


  7. Lerer s knowledge and affection for his subject is impressive, and particularly impressive is his ability to read various dialects as if he were the native speaker Lerer has a good way in driving home his points e.g vowels are continuously produced sounds that can go on forever whereas consonants break the sound After a description of English s indo European roots, Lerer breaks down the history of the language into Old English Anglo Saxon, 7th to 11th Century , Middle English from the Norman con [...]


  8. I ve just finished Part I of the three part lecture series Lerer does a great job lecturing, and any listener should know that these are lectures, so yes, boredom and some dryness is part of the fascinating process however, he is very knowledgable about the English language s development, pronunciations, and terms He has filled my head with fascination about simple things such as the word silly or how old English said Aks and we turned letters around to say Ask And, I ve always been curious abou [...]


  9. This is a series of lectures done by Seth Lerer for The Great Courses and it s all about how language comes to us by way of the Middle Ages and the many influences from Latin, French and Olde English As a writer I was really fascinated and I think had I studied this when I was younger, I might have been better at learning new languages.A tip Don t be intimidate by the deep scholastic content If you are not catching every single fact or concept, just shrug it off and keep going There are things t [...]


  10. One of the best series I have ever heard It s SO good that, time permitting, I would listen to again IMMEDIATELY and I recommend it FULLY to EVERYONE There is NO FILLER to force the course to meet its total of 36 excellent lectures and plenty for, even a language devotee, to learn afresh.It was fascinating to hear variants of the To be or not to be soliloquy.Great delivery generally, although, as a native Brit , I may have been a little over sensitive about Northern English being rendered with a [...]


  11. Still another great course from The Teaching Company Five Stars Also another one that I am going to have to listen to several times, since there is so much to absorb.The forty third, albeit audio, book that I have finished this year Normally I do not mind including a very occasional audio book in my count, but this year is different The transition to Durham has, since early June, been so consuming that my reading program has basically stopped I feel like I am starving intellectually One projec [...]


  12. This was an absolutely fascinating series of lectures which, despite knowing the topic rather well, I learned new things in every lecture Prof Lerer s idiosyncratic style took a little while to get used to, but his obvious and infectious enthusiasm for wordsmithery and the malleability of English was clear from the get go and overruled any misgivings I may have had I can t say I d recommend it to everyone, but to practically anyone with an interest in history, linguistics or literature, I d advi [...]



  13. Like that cake sitting in the fridge you keep coming back for tiny bites and occasionally a big, fat piece A language nerd s delight Audio.


  14. This is a great course very interesting and informative It took me almost 1.5 years to complete it, but it was well worth the time and effort Professor Lerer has such a way of explaining even complex concepts that they seem accessible even to a person like me, who has only a very basic knowledge of linguistics Highly recommended.



  15. Ich liebe diachrone Linguistic, also die Wissenschaft dar ber, wie sich eine Sprache, in diesem Fall die englische Sprache, im Laufe der Jahrhunderte ver ndert hat Naja und dieses Semester hatte ich auch die entsprechende Pflichtveranstaltung Wie das so ist, manche Profs halten tolle Vorlesungen, manche eher weniger tolle und die eigenen Profs leider meistens recht konfuse.Ich habe also diese Reihe parallel zu meiner Vorlesung geh rt Mit 36x30 min entspricht dieser mp3 Kurs auch in etwa dem Volu [...]


  16. TL DR Great information, horrible listen.Seth Lerer makes William Shatner look like an absolute master of oratory performance There s strong emphasis on just about every other word and strange pauses in odd places At one point Lerer talked about The study OF English The study OF Language and it was just odd Why do you need to hit the word of that hard Ever My roommate overheard the course and described it as a roller coaster of words I m pretty sure he was paid to say ifyoulike and You will reca [...]


  17. Seth Lerer takes provides a historical, grammatical, intellectual and pronunciation focused perspective of the English language He covers topics from Shakespeare to the Great Vowel Shift to French English politics during the Norman Invasion The lectures are 18 and a half hours long, so this is a meaty series of lectures even if you set your device to play the audiobook extra fast.For the rest of my review click here scribblerhn mendez 2017 08 13 history of the english language book review


  18. Very fun material It was a little wordy, no pun intended He tends to talk so much about the lesson plan that he seems not to get to the meat of specifics I was dying for specifics about the various topics For example, there would seem to be mountains of fun information about ebonics, but he just kind of tip toed around the subject However, it was still fascinating material and I m definitely glad I listened.


  19. Looking at my list of books I ve listened to in the past few years, I discovered I had listened to this one as well and had completely forgotten about it Thinking back I now recall it was somewhat interesting but looks like I was unable to actually retain anything at least consciously As such, I can only give it a lukewarm rating of three stars.


  20. This truly is an amazing book The professor provides an engaging history of English from its earliest sources to the present He discusses the role of the church, national administration, writing, Dictionaries, colleges, and journalism in the development of languages He ends with a discussion of Chomsky.


  21. If English is your mother tongue then you need to know where that which spills from your mouth originates and there is no finer way of getting the facts than with these lectures I had a slight problem with Lerer s voice but for the most one can distract from this due to the excellence of content


  22. I keep thinking I m going to be interested in the history of the English language, and then I try a book or a lecture on the subject and I m bored I didn t finish this lecture series I guess it s time to admit I m just not interested in the subject.


  23. The prominent thing about this book is that it is divided into lectures which are divided into points which make studying history fun keeping it away from long, boring pieces of writings and hundreds of pages on a certain topic I love this book.






  24. This took me a while but it was so good and I enjoyed Prf Lerer very much I won t remember it all, but I don t have to take a test and I have learned some very interesting things about english.


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