History of English Language: Episodes 6 to 9

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History of English Language
Episode 6 - Pioneers O Pioneers

Describes the evolution of American English from the Revolutionary War through the 1920s and the contribution of slang terms from segments of the population along with the influence of 1900s immigrants. Discusses the origin of a distinctive Canadian English when British Loyalists left the US for Canada after the American Revolution. This video is more about influences on American English vocabulary than differences in pronunciation and so there are not very many speech samples on this video. Ascribes heavy importance to too many different segments of the population for their influence on shaping a distinctive American English. These include: riverboat gambler English (13:20), fur trapper speech (19:30), influence of Spanish in the west (22:20), Italian contribution to food words (40:00). Discusses the role of the railroad's uniting the entire country in 1869 and the accents started merging. Notable figures are Alistaire Cooke (5:23) talking about Noah Webster's dictionary.

Episode 7 - Muvver Tongue

Discusses Cockney English and its influence on Australian and New Zealand English. Plays a lot on the idea of English in exile. England's petty criminals were transported to Australian and the Australian Aborigines and convicts developed a pidgin for communication. In fact, greater than one-third of Australians have Cockney heritage. And in the 19th century, large numbers of Londoners left for all corners of globe. When Samuel Johnson's dictionary, containing about 40,000 definitions, appeared, it defined Cockney not as just another variety of English, but as an inferior variety.

Episode 8 - The Loaded Weapon

Discusses the influence of Irish Gaelic on the English language in Ireland and the cultural and political differences with England. This tape is both touristy and political. The touristy part includes visits to the Blarney Stoney, a St. Patrick's Day Parade, and the family of an Irish American police officer. They show Irish Republican prisoners who are learning Gaelic in jail. They show a facsimile of Irish-English phrasebook prepared for Queen Elizabeth. They discuss the Potato Famine as cause of linguistic upheaval and near destruction of Irish language. There are some illustrative speech samples.

Episode 9 - Next Year's Words

Explores the use of English in the languages of other countries and provides samples of Pidgin English, patois and numerous other dialects of English, including Barbados English. English pidgins and creoles are found throughout the Pacific, Papua New Guinea highlands. Some linguists feel that English itself is a creole. Provides discussion of Jamaican dub poetry and reggae and discusses the emergence of Jamaican English as the dominant Caribbean English. Discusses the important and distinctive identity of English in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Has a wonderful segment on pidgin English in use by an agriculturalist.