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The history of English

11 minutes

‘Whose language is it anyway?’ The evolution of English, from ‘loaf’ to ‘LOL’

English is a uniquely weird language largely because its evolution has been a long, twisting road through history, happenstance and – as Shakespeare might say – strange bedfellows. This briskly paced jaunt through the history of the English language from The Open University condenses nearly 1500 years of its evolution, from the Anglo-Saxons to the internet, into eleven lively, animated minutes.

ORIGINAL
Video/Cognition & Intelligence

For millennia, we’d never seen anything like film cuts. How do we process them so easily?

7 minutes

ORIGINAL
Video/Values & Beliefs

Great news: pleasure is the purpose of life. Bad news: moderation is key

6 minutes

Video/Mathematics

Going from A to B isn’t always a straight line – but it can be very good fun

2 minutes

Idea/Stories & Literature

This ancient mnemonic technique builds a palace of memory

Lynne Kelly

Essay/Stories & Literature

Readers of the world unite

How markets, Marx, and provincial elites created world literature to fight both empire and nationalism

Martin Puchner

Video/Sports & Games

How Gaelic sports became a cultural binding force in Ireland’s most diverse town

15 minutes

Idea/Travel

We have a new word for that feeling when travel makes everything new

Liam Heneghan

Essay/Cultures & Languages

Talking gibberish

The study of languages has long been prone to nonsense. Why is linguistics such a magnet for dilettantes and crackpots?

Gaston Dorren

Video/Sports & Games

Looking like time travellers from a bygone era, sumo wrestlers gather for a competition

3 minutes