Origins Of English, And The Great Vowel Shift


The web is a great place to find free software, but it's also an incredible educational resource in its own right. My thanks yet again go to Lex Davidson for pointing me at a fascinating site which, in a series of 25 maps, explains the history of the English language that we are familiar with today. So if you've ever wondered why "steak" doesn't rhyme with "streak", for example, and whether it ever did in the past, this is the site for you.

You'll find everything you need at and all you require is a web browser. And give yourself an extra pedantry point if you notice that the site mentions "pronounciation" when in fact there's no such word in the English language. At least not yet.


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This was a great read! Thank you. :)

Thank you for a valuable resource!

Australian TV channel SBS sometimes shows subtitled European TV dramas.

I've been surprised at the number of times a TV cop is interrogating someone from a different country (to the location of the show) and they just swap straight into English as the intermediate common language, with no comment or exposition.

This is fairly common in shows from Germany and Sweden, that I know of.

I claim mega-pedantry points . . . A great find, so many thanks to Lex Davidson and Rob for the heads-up, seeing as how that particular website manages to chronicle the evolution of the English language whilst simultaneously highlighting its gradual demise: "It reflects the influences of centuries of international exchange . . . from the Vikings through the 21st century." Oh really? Vikings *through* this century? "Here are 25 maps and charts that explain *how English got started* . . ." But perhaps that was intended to be a joke. Irony, or wot?

A fascinating site! I recognized the language "tree" at the head of the article as being devised by Minna Sundberg, as a page of her excellent web comic, "Stand Still, Stay Silent", A post-apocalyptic story taking place in Scandinavia. She is Finnish; her writing is in impeccable English. The characters come from various Nordic nations, and they do not have a common language. Ms. Sundberg enjoys a challenge.

As a bookmark junkie I am always happy to find obscure but interesting websites like this one. The English language continues to evolve and perhaps ironically China will soon be the largest English speaking country in the world according to a fascinating You-tube video which highlights the rapid evolution of the internet and technology in general. -