A History of the English Language (Modern Scholar)
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A History of the English Language (Modern Scholar)

4.33 of 5 stars 4.33  ·  rating details  ·  135 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Professor Drout addresses the foundation of language and its connection to specific portions of the brain. The components of language are explained in easy-to-understand terms and the progression of the language from Germanic to Old, Middle, and Modern English is fully illustrated—including such revolutionary language upheavals as those brought about by the Norman Conquest...more
Published 2007 by Recorded Books
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Brian Eshleman
This particular lecture series was a significant disappointment. Although the instructor said that an understanding of the development of language in general was going to enhance our understanding of the development of English, I got more of a sense that Modern Scholars said his information on English was too scanty and that he should increase it by about 50% by any means necessary – including a bunch of technical details on language that no self-respecting history major would really enjoy.

Michael D C Drout's "A History of the English Language" is a wide ranging set of 14 lectures, each 30 minutes in length. He covers topics from how children and adults learn languages, how languages are spoken and constructed, through how languages in general and English evolved. Drout manages to make what could be a "sleep aid" into an interesting study.

I consider myself very fortunate that the local library carries many of the Modern Scholar and Great Course lecture series. They are particularl...more
Anne Hawn Smith
Dare I admit that two of my favorite books are on Linguistics and Advanced Grammar? I have to confess, I love this book as well as another book by Professor Drout: Understanding Grammar for Powerful Communication (The Modern Scholar: Way with Words, Vol. 3) These books are absolutely fascinating and I could listen to them over and over, there is so much information in them. Professor Drout takes what could be a boring subject and turns it into something humorous and interesting.

This isn't the st...more
Still just as entertaining and enlightening as the first time I listened to these lectures.
Edwin B
From its origin as the language of Germanic forest dwellers a thousand years BC; to the infusion of Latin from the Roman expansion; to the bit of Celtic influence from the migration of the Germanic tribes of Angles, Saxons and Jutes to the English isle; to the impact of the Viking occupation; to the influx of French words from the Norman conquest; to the great vowel shift that now differentiates Chaucer from modern English; to today's continuing evolution of English as the global language, and i...more
David Everling
More interesting than it sounds and the first half is a pretty good introduction to linguistics in general. The second half is the specific history of English, and one of the more interested parts of that half was the dialectic analysis toward the end (including topics like the "pop" vs. "soda" debate). Prof. Drout mentions that modern U.K. dialects have evolved more rapidly since the 1700s than American Standard English, meaning Shakespeare probably had an accent closer to the ways some America...more
This is the third such Modern Scholar lecture I've listened to by Dr. Drout. He is a great teacher who is funny and engaging and down-to-earth. I would recommend this lecture but it was probably my least favorite of the three (rhetoric and grammar were the other two I have listened to). Perhaps I feel the way I feel about it because it wasn't exactly what I was expecting. I was expected more of a straight up history course. The first roughly half of this was focused on the basics of linguistics...more
This is a Modern Scholar course, one of the many released by Recorded Books. This one was excellent. The instructor was interesting to listen to, and kept things moving along, even in the bits where he was trying to explain grammatical rules and phonetics. He begins with basic information about languages in general, and eventually ends up discussing English as it stands today: no longer the language of a small island off Europe, but the lingua franca (ironically) of the world.

Only a geek would c...more
History of the English language does not separate from history of people. I never learned much of history of countries outside of Holland or the USA, so this was enlightening. Also the review of linguistic terms helped me remember the good old college days. It felt as if the lecture was read, not spontaneous with student interaction, as the title suggests. If it is taught this way at college, it would not make points for having educational prowess, more expected in today's multi discipline acade...more
Andrew Higgins
This is a must listen to series for anyone interested in linguistics and philology. Dr Drout conveys very complex liguistic ideas like Grimms and Verners Law and the Great Vowel Shift in an easy to understand way. I highly recommend you follow along with the course book which you can download from the Modern Scholar's website. I plan to listen to all of Professor Drout's lectures on the Modern Scholar Series they are very good and its the next best thing to being in the class room with him!

i really enjoyed this. the first half was like my entire linguistics career, condensed to eight hours. seriously, i didn't learn a whole lot else in my major. and in some cases a lot less; my sytnax teacher was crap. but it helped me to remember some things i love about linguistics. and then i get to learn all about, well, the history of the english language, which is pretty dang interesting.
Hapax legomena - "...words that appear only one time in the written corpus of a language" - great name for a dog. (p. 38 of Course Guide)

Schwa - upside down "e" - mid-central vowel - as in "bosses" or "punted" = good name for a rock band. (p. 31 of Course Guide)

I thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining and educational course. I like Dr. Drout's reading and think he's very witty.
Brilliant audiobook/lecture! The author really knows how to capture the interest of the audience. Even the chapter on usually-boring phonology felt fascinating. It is packed with facts and at the same time easy to digest. And it's concise so you won't spend half of your lifetime listening to it.
This was great! I had no formal exposure to linguistics before reading it, and I feel like it has given me a good first taste. A web-based final exam is offered. I took it, and got 78%. That's pretty good for what amounts to a lecture-only course, "taken" in about a week.
Interesting lecture series that taught me the word metathesis, which means switching letters in a word. "Aks" for "ask" is common in many parts of the English-speaking world; in Jamaica, there's not only "aks" but also "deks" for "desk" and "flim" for "film."
I really, really enjoyed this course, particularly how the changes in the English language were connected with the history of the people. I can "hear" so much more in the language around me now.
I've listened to three or four of Professor Drout's books and all of them have been just fascinating. I'd always wondered what a "fricative" is; now I know -- and more.
Elena Newton
Wishing I could rate things at 1/2 stars - this was very good, but not so much for entertainment value, from a learning standpoint.
This was a wonderful and interesting series. Probably the most enjoyable and informative I have ever listened to.
An enjoyable audiobook; Drout lectures well, and his enthusiasm for his subject is unflagging.
This course hooked me on Michael Drout. He's so entertaining and informative.
Love all of Drout's Modern Scholar series. This is the best one.
Maja  (The Rambling Readerista)
some parts are extremely useful. easy style
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Michael D.C. Drout is a Professor of English at Wheaton College.
More about Michael D.C. Drout...
Writing, Rhetoric, and the Art of Persuasion (The Modern Scholar: Way with Words, Vol. 1) From Here To Infinity: An Exploration of Science Fiction Literature (The Modern Scholar) Rings, Swords, and Monsters: Exploring Fantasy Literature The Anglo-Saxon World (The Modern Scholar) Understanding Grammar for Powerful Communication (The Modern Scholar: Way with Words, Vol. 3)

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