Reasons for English: The origins of English

This is the transcript for the second English with Stephen podcast on how the USA guaranteed English would be the world’s language in the 20th century.

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Hello! I’m Stephen and this is the English with Stephen podcast. The podcast that gives you everything you need in order to learn English as quickly as possible.

Regular listeners will know that I have 3 main types of episode, and another occasional episode. The occasional episodes are Interviews with Learners. I have only done one of these so far, but I hope to do more in the future.

In the first main type of episode, I talk about word stories. In these, I talk about where certain words have come from, how they have changed their meanings over time and why they have today’s meaning. Word Story episodes have a light blue border around the image.

In the second type, I talk about learning strategies. A learning strategy is something that good learners do to learn English. There are thousands of strategies and not everyone uses all of them. The idea is to experiment with different strategies and find what works for you. Learning Strategy episodes have a green border around the image.

The third type of episode I have called Reasons for English. In these episodes, I look at the history of English and, by doing so, I hope to explain why English is the way it is. In these episodes we have looked at the birth of English with the Anglo-Saxons, how it developed into Middle English with the Vikings and the Norman invasion of England. We then looked at how technological advances and the British Empire spread English around the world, and how the growth of the USA made English the lingua franca of the world. Reasons for English episodes have a yellow border.

After the break, I hope to introduce you to the next part of the fascinating story of the Reasons for English.

My dear listener, if you like this episode, please share it with a friend, or alternatively, share it on social media. If you know somebody who is trying to learn English, please let them know about this podcast. I would love more people to have the opportunity to listen to this show as I honestly think it helps people learn English as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Now back to the Reasons for English.

I love Star Wars. I remember watching the original trilogy of films and being obsessed with Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and the Ewoks. I had Star Wars toys and books and the thing I wanted most of all in the entire world was a light sabre. I never got one as a present, so I ahd to make do with a wooden stick and try to make the iconic sound with my mouth.

Vrrrm  Vrrm.

I never really got it right, did I?

Anyway, in Star Wars, we had the original trilogy first released in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This was the trilogy, or three films, that I fell in love with as a kid. Later, there were some cartoons and a couple of very cheap spin-offs that involved the cute Ewoks, but no other cinema films until 1999.

In that year, we got the first in another trilogy. And yes, I know, it was a terrible film. The whole trilogy was awful, but especially that first film with Jah Jah Binks. I really hate Jah Jah Binks.

Anyway, my point is that that normally, you would get a sequel. You have one film and then later another film which continues the story. This is a sequel. You can use it for films, books, video games, theatre and anything that follows in a chronological order.

But these new Star Wars films were not a sequel. They were released later, but told the story of what happened before the original films. Because of this, this trilogy that started in 1999 is a prequel of the films that started in 1977.

A sequel is a story about what comes next.

A prequel is a story about what came before.

I know what you are thinking, why am I talking about Star Wars for so long when I should be talking about the origins of English?

The first answer is that I am a bit of a geek for many things, including Star Wars.

But the real answer is that, in true Star Wars style, I am going to look at the prequel to English.

In the original series of episodes, I looked at the history of English from the Romans up until the present day and then talked a bit about potential futures of English.

In the next few episodes, I am going to look at what came before English.

My plan is to trace the evolution of English from a time when English didn’t even exist. We’ll look at what happened over the last 10, 000 years that resulted in the modern language that we call English. In fact, it resulted in languages that about 50% of the world speak today.

It is a story that will include war, climate change, growth of empires, world-shattering inventions, politics, and some very clever people.

And hopefully, this prequel will be a bit better than the Star Wars prequel.

So, make sure you subscribe to this podcast on your favourite podcast app so that you don’t miss these future episodes. Alternatively, you can sign up on my site to get notifications of the new episodes. Remember, all the episodes are free, they last about 10 minutes and there is a transcript you can read to help you understand and learn more.

The next yellow episode, or Reasons for English episode, will be available in three weeks. And I promise to start the same way the wonderful Star Wars films all started…

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

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