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The Adventure of English

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The Adventure of English is a ITV mini-series presented by Melvyn Bragg, exploring the development of the English language over the last 1500 years. The series consists of eight episodes which cover the history of the language from its modest beginnings around 500 AD as a minor Germanic dialect to its rise as a truly established global language. Throughout the series, Melvyn Bragg looks at where English language originated, how the language was influenced by historical events, how class affected the use of English, William Shakespeare's contribution to the expansion of English vocabulary, English in America, a story of how British Empire spread the language around the globe in the 18th and 19th centuries, and a story about that English became a common language for communication in the 20th century.

Episode 1 - Birth of a Language
This episode discusses where English language originated and how the language was influenced by historical events.

Episode 2 - English Goes Underground
Melvyn Bragg discusses how class also affected the use of English, especially in the time of William the Conqueror and for approximately 300 years after his reign.

Episode 3 - The Battle for the Language of the Bible
This episode explores how English could become the official language of the Bible in England.

Episode 4 - This Earth, This Realm, This England
In the 16th century, English vocabulary expanded rapidly through overseas trade, William Shakespeare's contribution, etc.

Episode 5 - English in America
This episode explores historical aspects influencing the development of American English such as westward expansion, cowboy culture and slave culture.

Episode 6 - Speaking Proper
This episode follows English through the 18th and 19th centuries, from publishing science books in English in the Age of Reason to changing the meaning of words associated with the new technology in the Industrial Revolution.

Episode 7 - The Language of Empire
This episode tells a story of how British Empire spread the English language around the globe and how the language changed.

Episode 8 - Many Tongues Called English, One World Language
English became a common language for communication in the 20th century. What is its future? Could it end up like Latin?


Related Links
The Adventure of English - wikipedia
The Adventure of English is a British television series (ITV) on the history of the English language presented by Melvyn Bragg as well as a companion book, also written by Bragg.
History of the English language - wikipedia
English is a West Germanic language that originated from the Anglo-Frisian dialects brought to Britain by Germanic invaders and/or settlers from various parts of what is now northwest Germany and the Netherlands.
The Story of English
This is a PBS documentary series presented by Robert MacNeil, detailing the development of the English language.
Fry's Planet Word
This is a five-part BBC documentary series written and presented by Stephen Fry, exploring various aspects of human language including its origins, how we use and abuse it, and the history of written language.