The modern French language evolved from a Latin dialect spoken in Gaul during the period of the late Roman Empire. That language ultimately became mixed with Old English after the Norman Conquest of 1066. Approximately half of the words in conversational English come from French. So in this episode, we explore the ultimate origins of the early Romance dialect known as ‘Old French.’ We also examine the impact which the early French language had on English. And along the way, we look at the evolution of the Frankish kingdom from Clovis to Charlemagne.
Long before the Normans arrived in England, the Anglo-Saxons were borrowing Latin words from the monastic culture which was emerging in the 7th and 8th centuries. In this episode, we explore the spread of monastic schools and scholarship in Anglo-Saxon Britain, and we examine many of the Latin words which were borrowed during the period of Old English.
The early Christian Church in Britain gradually embraced English as a way to spread to the message of the Church to the masses. This required the translation of Christian words and concepts from Latin into English. In this episode, we explore how English was used to represent the new religious ideas which were rapidly expanding across Britain. We also explore the many words and phrases which originated from this process and which still exist in Modern English. Check out the ‘Texts’ tab for the written version of Caedmon’s Hymn and the Ruthwell Cross inscription discussed in this episode.
We explore the origin of modern English words related to time. A direct connection is made to the calendar reforms of Julius Caesar. The etymology of English words related to time illustrate the combined influences of the Germanic languages and Latin on modern English.
We look at the rise of the Roman Republic from a small Italian city-state to the dominant political and military power of the Mediterranean. The expansion of Rome also led to the expansion of Latin which emerged as a common lingua franca. We also explore Latin words and phrases from this period which have found their way into Modern English.
The first Indo-Europeans settle into Italy, but they encounter an existing civilization known as the Etruscans. The Etruscans borrow the alphabet from the Greeks, and soon pass it on to the Romans. Our modern alphabet finally begins to emerge.