23 thoughts on “Episodes

  1. I’ve listened to the first seven episodes, and am absolutely elated! I found the Indo-European cognates derived from «centum», and the history of the letter ‘c’ to be so amazing. I’ve realised for some time that our core vocabulary has remained essentially Germanic, but what I’d find more interesting is the those ‘core’ words in English that differ from {are not cognates of} Germanic, like ‘dog’ & perhaps ‘horse’.
    I find your podcast to be compulsive listening; I love it, and wish I had more time to study what has always been a great interest of mine > linguistics.
    Your podcast is excellently presented, and excellently researched, unlike certain others that turn out to be an irritation.
    The only thing I would like to suggest is that more examples from other Germanic {or Indo-European} languages be given, e.g., German “Hund”, & Dutch “hond” are cognates of “hound”; German “trinken”, & Dutch “drinken” are cognates of “drink” {verb}.
    Also, many people unknowingly imagine that English has a word for everything, because of its huge vocabulary, whereas this is definitely not the case. Some linguistics say that certain languages can be characterised by their ‘untranslatable’ expressions. Dutch has a different verb, used when speaking of animals, for the verbs ‘eat’, ‘drink’, & ‘die’ > respectively “vreten”, “zuipen”, & “verrekken”; this is a distinction English does NOT make! These verbs are also used in a derogatory sense when speaking of humans. It might be worthwhile pointing this out in a future episode, if you have not done so already.
    Incidentally, my username is a reflexion of my interest in linguistics {it’s in modified Scottish Gaelic, Frisian, & Old English} :)

    • Thanks for the feedback. By the way, I do use some Germanic words for comparison in the later episodes associated with the Germanic languages. I’m glad you find the podcast so interesting, and I look forward to continuing to tell the story of English.

      Kevin Stroud

  2. Every single episode is fascinating and a treasure to listen to. The way history, culture and language are intervowen is awesome. So much scholarship is presented in a profound yet entertaining way. I could listen to Kevin for hours :-)

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  4. I am so glad that my cousin made me aware of this podcast. This series has become must-listen podcast and I am a complete sucker for the minutia you discuss. You claim that this is a history podcast and not a linguistics podcast but they are completely intertwined. I am endlessly fascinated and am hanging on every word — both of Germanic and Latin origin.

  5. fab stuff kevin. I have always been fascinated in the way English has so many old norse, latin based and west germanic words in the mix. Your podcasts nail all this down for me in a very informative way. fyi I am from the north west of EnglandI and on of the regional dialect users who still say me for my :-) as much as it’s frowned upon by my west saxon counterparts in the south of England! keep up the good work mate. Si mac.

    • Simon,

      Thanks for the comments. Glad you’re enjoying the podcast. I think you’ll find the Old English material really fascinating as well. Speaking of regional accents, I am thinking about inviting listeners to submit audio samples of their local accents and dialects. I could use that audio as we move into the Middle and Modern English periods. Stay tuned for more about that – and be sure to keep listening.


      • Kevin, happy to help with any audio samples. That’s if you can understand my accent ;-)
        I am originally from Salford (AS for ford by the willow trees), Manchester (fort on the breast shaped hill) in the county of Lancashire. I now live in Edinburgh for work but the accent is still there, thick as mud :-) . As you probably know dialects and then accented dialects are legion in England, and even within Lancashire there is an accent for each town. Someone from London would be able to make out I have a ‘northern’ accent/dialect but I can recognise a person from either Manchester, Preston, Liverpool, Wigan within a few spoken words. It’s a minor hobby trying to identify a person’s hometown just from the way they talk. Even perceived English speakers will give themselves away if they speak long enough. I was in Sweden in Augiust on holiday and it’s quite mind boggling to realise how much of English still has old norse connections in there. Great podcast, Cheers Si Mac.

  6. An interesting thought just occurred to me. The person who wrote the first comment whose username is reflection of Old English, etc, brought something to mind. I have just finished reading a fascinating book called ‘Burial Rites’ by Hannah Kent, a historical crime novel set in Iceland in the early 1800′s. Is Icelandic also closely related to Old English because the writing looks incredibly similar! Especially that curved ‘d’!

    • Rosemary,

      Thanks for the question. Yes, Icelandic and Old English are linguistically very close. Icelandic is a North Germanic language, but it has changed very little since the days of the Vikings. Some modern Icelanders claim that they can real Old Norse without any problems. Meanwhile, Old English was a West Germanic language which existed at a time when it was still very close to the original Germanic language. So Old English and Modern Icelandic are closely related linguistically. Someone who speaks Icelandic could probably real Old English and understand much more of it that a Modern English speaker could. In addition to all of that, keep in mind that the Viking invasions of England resulted in a lot of Old Norse influence in English. In fact, some linguists have argued that Modern English is really derived from Old Norse — not Old English! Check out this link. It’s a little ‘out there’ for me, but it’s a fascinating argument nonetheless.


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  8. Excellent podcast. It is a model others should follow. I cannot thank you enough. Please let listeners know if you plan to continue with similar online projects.

    • Sara,

      Thank you for the kind words. Right now I am focusing on the History of English Podcast, but I am considering some supplementary materials as well. I will keep everyone informed. Thanks again!

  9. Great work. This is my favorite audio source. I hope you continue this and other projects into the future. Education is a gift that you deliver. Your many fans look forward to each new episode.

  10. A quick message to say how much I have enjoyed this podcast. A late arrival (through the recommendation of a friend) I have found it both intriguing and superbly presented. Your love for the subject certainly shines through. Thanks for filling in a number of gaps in my knowledge!

  11. Your fascinating podcast has not only given me a great overview all the beginnings of Western civilization and the rise of nation states, as well as, of course, the history of English, but also it has greatly informed my teaching of Spanish to adult learners. I will be adding your website as a reference to the blog I have recently started for ny students Who range from total beginners to advanced learners and polyglots… we all learn a lot.

    • Thanks Marti!

      I never really considered the podcast as a learning tool for speakers of Spanish, German and other languages. But since beginning the podcast I have received a lot of feedback from listeners who report that it has helped them with the study of other languages as well. I am glad that listeners find the podcast entertaining and educational in many different ways. Thank you for the feedback.

  12. Have just caught up. Can’t wait for the next one.
    I had a few problems listening to the first ones and still can’t seem to download as podcast from anywhere. However, I have gotten everything from the website and played via my android audio book app and boy was it worth it. I have an interest in the subject itself and have found the history element absolutely fascinating. Highly recommend.
    By coincidence I have started reading Steve Berry’s “Charlemagne Pursuit” – a fictional story based on known historical facts and I could believe he had listened to your podcast before he wrote it…..

  13. Lately I’ve begun to look forward to my commute on the train because it means I get to sit back for an undisturbed 40 minutes and listen to The History of English podcast. By the time I arrive at my destination, I’ve learned something new and fascinating about history, culture, and language.
    Sending thanks from San Francisco, California!

  14. Dear Kevin,
    I have just discovered your wonderful treasure chest of lectures and am now hooked. I will send you a small donation in appreciation of this fantastic resource!

    Kind regards,

  15. Hi Kevin, great podcast, very informative and scholarly presented. I am wondering if you intend to make episodes about certain topics which features the English core vocabulary words to help learners gain mastery of the language. I have tried looking for such materials in the internet but failed. I hope you would consider devoting sometime for the advancement of ESL learners like me.

    Thank you so much and more power.

    • Von,

      Thanks for the suggestion. I intend to discuss the core vocabulary in more detail as part of the Viking influence on English. I will keep your recommendation in mind for future episodes.

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