Bonus Episode: Regarding English (Sound Education Conference Talk)

In November of 2018, I gave a talk at the Harvard Divinity School as part of the Sound Education Conference. The talk was an overview of the history of English called “Regarding English.”  The final version of the speech was edited for time, so I have recorded the original version of the speech with the parts that were left out. Enjoy!

12 thoughts on “Bonus Episode: Regarding English (Sound Education Conference Talk)

  1. Bravo! I’ve been listening from the beginning, well I was late to the table and had to do some binge listening. This episode perfectly demonstrates your skill at weaving together the threads of history. Thanks for bringing it to us.

  2. Hi Kevin, I listened to your bonus podcast last night and thought it was great. It was a fantastic summary of the history of the English language and a very clever way of illustrating this using one root word. I especially like the final point where you related it to Harvard! I do hope you got lots of applause!

    • Thanks. There were about 20 or so people in the room. I think were four different talks going on at the same time, so it wasn’t like I was speaking to a huge auditorium. I did get a bit of a gasp from the audience when I made that connection to Harvard. As I noted, the original talk was recorded, and when the conference posts the audio, I will either include the original version or the questions/answers that were included at the end.

  3. Just listened and was thrilled to learn that Harvard comes from Hereward. I first heard of him as a young boy about 1943 and he has been a hero of mine ever since. We were in the UK on leave in 1992. Our daughter was studying at Cambridge. We wanted to be close without intruding on her work and rented a hotel annex in Ely for six weeks. I was on top of the world.

    • I didn’t realize the connection between Hereward and Harvard until I was preparing the surname episodes. It came up during that research which happened to be at the same time I was planning for the conference. So it seemed like good connection to explore. I’m glad you liked the episode.

  4. I think the payoff at the end of this episode is one of your best etymological connections yet. The fact that you chose *wer- because it tied in with the location of your speech makes it a strong contender for #1. (And also because I had no idea that “ware” and “ward” were connected to “Harvard.” I was expecting the surname to be “Howard” until you revealed it.) It’s at least up there with guest/host/ghost (which is disputed but I don’t care; it was amazing when I heard it) and road/ride/raid — though the all-time best might always be right/correct/rectangle/regal/raja/Reich/Amerigo/America (etc. etc.).

    I hope there was a very pleased and impressed reaction from the crowd when you said the name “Harvard”!

    • Thanks! You have a very good memory of the etymology topics I have discussed. It’s probably better than my memory of those topics. 😉

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