This is the remarkable story of the English language; from its beginnings as a minor guttural Germanic dialect to its position today as a truly established global language. The Adventure of English is not only an enthralling story of power, religion, and trade, but also the story of people, and how their lives continue to change the extraordinary language that is English.
"Many Of Course monments"
Melvyn Bragg follows his long historical exploration of the Routes of English with ‘Voices of the Powerless’, the BBC Radio 4 series in which he explores the lives of the ordinary working men and women of Britain at critical moments across the last 1,000 years.The Peasants' Revolt began in the Essex village of Fobbing in May 1381. It started with the arrival of a royal tax commissioner, John Bampton, enquiring into evasion of the new poll-tax.
"A Narrative Utterly Devoid of the Major Events"
Melvyn Bragg examines some of the many different varieties of English spoken around the world today, taking in Spanglish from the USA, Indian English, Caribbean English, Australian English, South African English, and finally a kind of ‘international English’ used between non-native English speakers.
When we think of great events in the history of the world, we tend to think of war, revolution, political upheaval, or natural catastrophe. But throughout history there have been moments of vital importance that have taken place not on the battlefield, or in the palaces of power, or even in the violence of nature, but between the pages of a book.
"Learn a few new things"
Melvyn Bragg follows his long historical exploration of the Routes of English with Voices of the Powerless, the BBC Radio 4 series in which he explores the lives of the ordinary working men and women of Britain at critical moments across the last 1,000 years. Ulster, one of the four ancient provinces of Ireland, remained largely independent of English rule until the end of the 16th century. The plantation period the programme looks at is the half century between the Tudor conquest of Ulster in the 1590s and the rebellion of the Ulster Irish in 1641.
Melvyn Bragg looks at how English has evolved over 1,000 years, looking at the disappearance of old dialects like that of Cumbria, and how it has been enriched by foreign languages, from Latin, Old French, and then dozens more as conquest, trade and immigration played their part in recent centuries.
Melvyn Bragg looks at dialects from around Britain: the Pitmatic of Northumberland, the dialect of (London/Derry), the increasingly elusive Cornish dialect, Pidgin, and Shropshire dialect, then finishing up with a speculation on the future of English dialects.
In the seventh century, at the dawn of Christianity, Bega, a bewitching Irish princess bestowed with miraculous powers, and Padric, a charismatic British prince gifted with the fiery power of the sword, sacrifice themselves for what they believe to be a greater destiny.
Melvyn Bragg examines new coinages, puns and wordplay; how accents and social class are entwined; swear words; attempts to stop the evolution of language in its tracks; and, finally, the many varieties of English that are spoken around the world today.
Visiting the Hebridean island of Mull today, it's not long before someone mentions the steep decline in population that the Scottish highlands and islands suffered 150 to 200 years ago. And it was a depopulation that the crofters were powerless to do anything about - in a phrase that sounds a knell almost as chilling as today's 'ethnic cleansing', the Highland Clearances are still talked of as one of the most harsh pieces of social manipulation in Britain's history. A long-drawn-out lament mourned in song and poetry ever since.
"Helpful historical background"
After the Second World War, many found a return to the old life more difficult than they had anticipated. Like Sam Richardson, who was determined to leave Cumbria for the promised land of Australia. Yet now, a few months on, he has settled for a job in a paper factory, and believes he has put his memories of fighting in Burma behind him. His wife, Ellen, begins to know better...
Broadcaster and arts presenter Melvyn Bragg fronts The Written World, a five-part BBC Radio 4 series following the origins of writing from its first appearance 6,000 years ago and exploring how it has shaped the world's intellectual history. In the first programme, he looks at the technology of writing, and how making signs on clay, wood, or parchment enabled the development of human culture.
"Enjoyable and informative audio book"
Melvyn Bragg follows his long historical exploration of the Routes of English with ‘Voices of the Powerless’, the BBC Radio 4 series in which he explores the lives of the ordinary working men and women of Britain at critical moments across the last 1,000 years. The Norman Conquest is his starting point, a time when William the Conqueror’s ‘harrying of the North’ affected the poor apprentice, the lowly ploughman and the humble shepherd.
"Melvyn Bragg,need I say more ?"
At the end of May 1381, the 14-year-old King of England had reason to be fearful: the plague had returned, the royal coffers were empty and a draconian poll tax was being widely evaded. Yet Richard, bolstered by his powerful, admired mother, felt secure in his God-given right to reign.
"An Extraordinary Period in History Brought to Life"
In the spring of 1946, ex-corporal Sam Richardson returns home from the "forgotten war" in Burma to his hometown of Wigton in Cumbria, England, to the joyful relief of his young wife, Ellen. He finds a town in which, seemingly, little has changed: the same twisting alleys, weavers' cottages, and medieval archways, and the same lack of prospects for an uneducated, working-class man like himself. Sam, however, has changed.
Set in Britain during the 1950s, this moving and evocative novel follows the intertwined fates of people crossing boundaries in their lives - from growing older to growing up, from first love to leaving home. Vividly conveying the spirit of the mid-century and the profound social changes taking place at the time, this is an enthralling successor to the award-winning The Soldier's Return and A Son of War.
In this episode taken from the BBC Radio 4 series, Melvyn Bragg voyages to Tasmania to find out what a sentence of transportation to Van Diemen’s Land really meant to those who survived the journey ‘beyond the seas’. We hear the forgotten voices of people such as Joseph Lingard, a respectable Derbyshire man who was wrongfully convicted of the theft of a door-latch, and explore the destinies of the many thousands of British convicts whose forced labour shaped the first 80 years of the Australian colony.
The King James Bible has often been called ‘the Book of Books’ both in itself and in what it stands for. Since its publication in 1611 it has been the best-selling book in the world, and many believe it has had the greatest impact.The King James Bible has spread the Protestant faith. It has also been the greatest influence on the enrichment of the English language and its literature.
"The Influence of the Bble on English Literature"
Melvyn Bragg follows his long historical exploration of the Routes of English with ‘Voices of the Powerless’, the BBC Radio 4 series in which he explores the lives of the ordinary working men and women of Britain at critical moments across the last 1,000 years. At the beginning of his reign, King Charles I faced a perennial problem for English monarchs, how to raise the money and resources needed to wage war.
In this episode taken from the BBC Radio 4 series, Melvyn Bragg travels to the historic dockyard of Chatham to explore the life of a seaman in Nelson’s navy. Our popular image of the 18th century sailor below decks is one of a downtrodden, press-ganged man who was a victim of regular beatings. While Bragg finds some evidence to support this view, he also discovers that for many working-class men a career on board ship was an opportunity for a better life.