English has sometimes been jokingly described as the result of Norman conquerors trying to make dates with Saxon barmaids, and there’s more than a grain of truth in the joke.
The following History of English video came across my desk last week.
In 10 one minute episodes, it shows the growth and change of English since before it was English. Starting with the invasion of the Anglo-Saxons and ending with Internet and Global English, this video shows just where many of our commonly used words came from.
The entire video is actually over 11 minutes long and rather densely packed with information, so I am betting I am not the only person who has not seen it all the way through. With that in mind, I would suggest heading over to the Open University website and viewing each of the chapters individually (especially the one on the influence of dictionaries).
If I hadn’t done that then I wouldn’t know that they got a number of details wrong in the chapter on Internet English. For example, a number of words like download and reboot were invented for the computer age, not the internet age. And firewall? That was a construction term which was adapted to a new use and a new meaning.
Still, even with the errors it’s well worth watching.
P.S. For more fun with English, here is a video which proves English pronunciation is crazy.