The Adventure of English is a British television series (ITV) in the history of the English language presented by Melvyn Bragg, and a companion book, also written by Bragg.
The series and the book is presented as an adventure story, or biography of English as if it were a living being, covering the history of the language from its modest beginnings around 500 AD as a minor Germanic dialect to its place as a truly established global language.
In the television series, Bragg explains the origins and spelling of many words based on the times that were introduced in the language every time you turn into modern English.
1. Birth of a Language. The modern Frisian language is the language closest to English sound used 2000 years ago, when people in what is now north of the Netherlands traveled to what would be the UK and drove the Celts in the west side of the island. Words such as “blue” can be recognized in the Frisian language.
2. English goes underground. Bragg discusses how the class also affected the use of English, especially in the time of William the Conqueror and about 300 years after his reign, during this period, only French and Latin were used in the business of state and the aristocracy, while the English remained in use with the lowest peasant classes.
3. The battle for the language of the Bible. In the early to mid 1300′s fought for English be the language of the Christian Bible through the efforts of theologian John Wycliffe, who opposed the use of the church of the Latin script, as it prevented most of the people reading the Bible for themselves.
4. This earth, this realm, this England. In times of Queen Elizabeth I, English began to spread to an even greater depth. Foreign trade brought new words from France, and swearing the now popular “fokkinge” (shit) “Krappe” (garbage) and “bugger” from the Dutch in the 16th century.
5. English in America. Upon landing in North America, the colonists found Squanto, a native who had been captured and taken to England to learn English and become a guide. After his escape, Squanto returned to his tribe, who happened to live near the site of English settlers created their small town.
6. Speaking properly. The age of reason began, and English students of mathematics and science as Isaac Newton began to publish his books in English instead of Latin. Jonathan Swift would save the ever-changing English language, followed by Samuel Johnson, who was to write the dictionary of the English Language, consisting of 43,000 words and definitions, written in seven years and published in 1755.
7. The language of the Empire. The British trade and colonization spread the English language. In India, the scholar William Jones finds some English words already present in Sanskrit. The Wretched of the Earth in Australia, London criminal slang mixed Aboriginal and words into a new dialect. Jamaican patois claim.
8. Many tongues called English, a language in the world. The globalization of English in the 20th century the greater part due to the United States. Here we look at the prevalence of Black American street talk, how World War II American cinema threatened to “infect” the mother tongue in the UK and how some countries are trying to end the English invasion – to Franglais example, in France and Singlish in Singapore.