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The Story of English

The Story of English is a nine-part PBS documentary series presented by Robert MacNeil, detailing the development of the English language. The series begins with a look at the development of modern English, showing how English has become the language of choice for international business, diplomacy, and popular culture. Then it discusses the evolution of the English language from its beginnings to tomorrow: the Anglo-Saxon invasion and its impact on the language; the Norman French influence on Chaucer; the influences that Shakespeare and the King James Bible had on the development of the English language; the influence of Scottish influence on English; the origins of Black English; the development of American English and Canadian English; Cockney English and its influence on Australian and New Zealand English; the influence of Irish Gaelic on the English language in Ireland; and the future of the English language.

Episode 1 - An English Speaking World
This episode explores the development of modern English and shows how English has become the language of choice for international business, diplomacy, and popular culture.

Episode 2 - The Mother Tongue
This episode traces the history of the language in terms of successive invasions of the British Isles, from the Anglo-Saxons through the Norman French in 1066.

Episode 3 - A Muse of Fire
This episode demonstrates the far-reaching effects of the English of Shakespeare and the King James Bible.

Episode 4 - The Guid Scots Tongue
This episode follows the thread of the Gaelic tongue as it is practiced by the Scottish, following the influx of the Scots into Ireland beginning with the reign of James I, and the subsequent influence of Scottish influence on English.

Episode 5 - Black on White
This episode examines the origins of Black English, beginning with the influx of Africans to the American continent caused by the slave trade.

Episode 6 - Pioneers, O Pioneers!
This episode examines various theories about American English from the Revolutionary War through the 1920s. And it also features a discussion about Canadian English.

Episode 7 - Muvver Tongue
This episode discusses Cockney English and its influence on Australian and New Zealand English.

Episode 8 - The Loaded Weapon
This episode treats the Irish question in terms of its spoken and written word and the long-standing political tensions between Ireland and Great Britain.

Episode 9 - Next Year's Words
This episode explores the direction that many language scholars believe the English vernacular is heading.


Related Links
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 Adventure of English
This is a ITV mini-series presented by Melvyn Bragg, exploring the development of the English language over the last 1500 years.
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.