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Hello,

I hope you do not mind but I'd like to enquire about the recently screened: The Adventure of English. I thought this was an excellent series but unfortunately I missed several episodes from series one and two. I am wondering if any person has the series taped and would not mind providing me with a copy?; I would pay for the tapes or disks etc. I do hope someone could be of help as the producers assure me that there are no plans to make it available on DVD or to show it again. Any help or information that you are able to provide would be very much appreciated.

Best regards,

Peter Coldham
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The series is currently being broadcast on The History Channel International, apparently with just a single repeat of the weeks session 4 hours later the same evening. Episode 1 aired Monday July 4th. You may wish to read a review of the series at http://www.worldwidewords.org/reviews/re-adv1.htm - not altogether favorable because of some inaccuracies.

Regards,

Dave Duke / San Francisco
Have you had any luck getting a copy? I would love one also?
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I read the review which I thought was a trifle unfair - beware anyone trashing folk etymologies - it is usually someone with an equally dubious explanation!

Where I thought the series did fall down was the disproportionate time spent on N.American varieties of English. The reason given was the number of speakers, which was intellectually dishonest . They should have admitted that they needed to sell the series to US and Canadian networks. Both diachronically and synchronically the major interest in the English language lies in the UK. If you travel one hundred miles from any one point in the UK to any other you will hear more varieties of English than if you travel from the Rio Grande to the Arctic Circle.This is not making a nationalistic point. It applies equally to languages such as French and Spanish which were exported to the New World.

I also felt that they over-exaggerated the "danger" that English was in following the Norman Conquest. The written records in English may have been scanty, but the spoken language was never in danger of being ousted by Norman French, any more than Hindi was in danger of being ousted by English in India.

A far better book on the English language is the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language by David Crystal.
Hello Peter

I am also on a quest to find a copy of the series. Did you have any luck. I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards

Suzanne
The series is actually available on DVD/VHS for $929.95 (includes public performance rights). A bit expensive for the average viewer, but maybe an option for a college/university/urban library which can then lend it to people in the community?

Here's the website link: http://www.films.com/id/6429/The_Adventure_of_English_500_AD_to_2000_AD.htm
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Forbes The written records in English may have been scanty, but the spoken language was never in danger of being ousted by Norman French, any more than Hindi was in danger of being ousted by English in India.

You got that right! In fact, there was virtually no mixing of Norman and English because Normans were largely aristoctrats, while the English-speakers were largely peasants. It was like that for almost 300 years until the ruling Nomans (I think Henry II) decided to make English the official language of the ruling class as well.

The Normans were responsible for the tremendous influx of French-origin words and phrases, though.

Open question: Has anyone seen any literary prose from 1000 AD to about 1250 AD where there is significant French influence or imporatation?
<...the spoken language was never in danger of being ousted by Norman French...>

How would we quantify the "danger", at any given time?

MrP
MrPedanticHow would we quantify the "danger", at any given time?
No idea!

The suggestion in the series was that English was somehow dying out and made a remarkable recovery.
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