English Language in the Past

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  anonymous 4 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #15812

    BradH
    Participant

    I have been listening to “History of English” podcast, about how the English language has came to be, and how it has changed over time. This got me wondering…if a modern American/Brit/etc. speaker travelled back in time and spoke with King Henry VIII, would you be able to actually speak and have a conversation with the people of that era?I recently took a look at "A Recuile of the Histories of Troy", the first printed book in English in 1473, and I was shocked to find I could understand almost all of the original text. I thought it would look almost gibberish, like if I were to try and read the original Chaucer, but it was plainly understandable. Here is a picture of the first page:http://www.peterharrington.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/73725_1_LeFevre.jpg

  • #18975

    anonymous
    Participant

    Hey Brad, is that Kevin Stroud's podcast?  Or have you discovered another History of English podcast?I'm no expert and I hope someone more knowledgable will come along and correct me, but my gut tells me that at your first meeting, you and old Henry VIII would have a bit of trouble. It'd probably be worse than trying to understand a very heavy regional dialect of today. But if you took some time and did some pointing and miming and WRITING, you'd soon start to understand each other very well.Henry would still have been speaking Middle English so vowel sounds would be odd and some vocabulary might be unfamiliar, and he'd probably wonder why you were being so grammatically lazy.

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