Competing (and interestingly conflicting) histories of the English language. The first is by the British Council, produced in 1943, with according anti-German propaganda, emphasis on John of Gaunt’s Richard II “sceptred isle” speech, and a cameo by Churchill. The second collates the 10 shorter videos produced by the Open University, narrated by satirist and Private Eye editor Ian Hislop.
1) History of the English Language (1943)
2) The History of English in Ten Minutes (2011)
As you may have guessed, my teaching for the the Final Honours School Linguistics paper begins tomorrow! Hurrah for Private Eye‘s contribution to the same. In other news, I am going to Montpelier to perform in Antony & Cleopatra.
In news the third, I would like to make an official declaration that it is never, ever sexist to ask a five-foot-tall girl if she would like any help lifting a frankly ludicrously large suitcase from high train to platform. All those decent, strapping men forced by equality-panic to disguise themselves as bovine, selfish oafs (for indeed, this can be the only explanation): consider yourselves relieved of your potential chauvinist arsery. Ask me if I’d like some help. You will STILL be enlightened male feminists. I promise.
Dr Sophie Duncan is Fellow in English at Christ Church, University of Oxford. She works regularly as a historical advisor and as a dramaturg for theatre, TV, radio and film. She likes theatre, detective fiction and cocktails.