My name is Kevin Stroud, and I am the writer, producer and host of the History of English Podcast. Since the summer of 2012, I have attempted to tell the story of the English language from its ultimate origins to one of the most widely-spoken languages in the world.
My interest in the history and development of the English language was sparked by an otherwise non-eventful lecture about poetry in high school English class in the 1980s. The lecture featured a videotape of modern scholars reciting the Beowulf poem in its original Old English. It was difficult to conceive how this strange and foreign-sounding language was actually an early version of English. A few years later, I had the opportunity to re-ignite that spark as a college student at North Carolina State University by studying the origins of English and the fundamental connections between language and culture. Despite my deep interest in the history of languages, my professional pursuits led me to study the English language in a more practical way. After completing my undergraduate degree in Political Science, I moved on to obtain a law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Since 1994, I have been a practicing attorney, spending most of my days parsing the English language in the preparation of contracts, wills, trust agreements, and a variety of other legal documents.
In 2011, I decided to revisit my interest in the history of the English language by jumping into the burgeoning industry of podcasting. At a time when virtually no one in my personal orbit knew what a ‘podcast’ was, I began researching and constructing a podcast series dedicated the history of English from the time of the original Indo-Europeans. The podcast was designed as a chronological historical narrative presenting the story of the language in conjunction with the people, places and events that shaped and influenced the evolution of the language. After a year of research and writing, I released the first episode of the History of English Podcast in June of 2012. It was soon discovered by a small coterie of podcast listeners intrigued by the idea of a history podcast about a language.
Since then, the podcast has grown by leaps and bounds. Over the past decade, I have explored the ultimate roots of English among the herding culture of the Indo-Europeans, the migration of those nomadic herders throughout Europe and Asia, the invention of the alphabet, the invasion of Britain by the first Germanic speakers, the Old English of Beowulf and Alfred the Great, the Old Norse influence of Viking invaders, the Norman Conquest of England, the French influence on Middle English, and the gradual emergence of Modern English in the wake of the printing press and the Great Vowel Shift. It has been a fascinating journey through old manuscripts, foreign lands, and familiar historical figures. And the story continues . . .