A friend of mine shared this video on Facebook earlier today, and it’s just so fantastically succinct and hilarious I had to post it here. It’s “The History of English in Ten Minutes”:
My friend found it on a blog post at Milk And Cookies, but it’s pretty widely available.
What’s particularly genius about this is the way that, by distilling the history of the English language into just these ten minutes, the video calls attention to the three main driving factors in any language’s development: religion, conquest, and the arts. Pretty much in that order, though one could make a case for military conquest outpacing religious intellectualism for language growth. My own history of the English language professor was fond of telling us that a language is just a dialect with an army, which is probably why religion became less important to the development of English around the same time the Church stopped commanding armies. At least directly, anyway.
Also something to note: The whole last two minutes of the film are about major developments in the English language that have occurred since I last studied the development of the English language! That’s how fast things change, folks.
Anyway, this is a delightful run-down of linguistic history, and a fun way to blow a Saturday morning. Enjoy!