Episode 68 (English Through the Ages)

David Crystal

The September 2023 episode of In a Manner of Speaking features a trip through time:  a conversation between Paul and distinguished linguist David Crystal about the history of the English language. David traces the development of English from the Roman occupation of Britain to the spread of Modern English around the world.

Highlights include a discussion of Old English, Middle English, Early Modern English (and Original Pronunciation), along with a brief look at the contributions of the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and French.

David (a native of Liverpool, England, and North Wales) has authored more than 100 books in the field of language, including several Penguin books, but is perhaps best known for his two encyclopedias for Cambridge University Press, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language and The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. His books on English phonetics and phonology include Prosodic Systems and Intonation in English and The English Tone of Voice.

He was founder-editor of the Journal of Child Language (1973-85), Child Language Teaching and Therapy (1985-96), and Linguistics Abstracts (1985-96), and associate editor of the Journal of Linguistics (1970-73). In addition, he has been a consultant, contributor, or presenter on several radio and television programs and series. David is currently patron of the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) and the Association for Language Learning (ALL); president of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading, the UK National Literacy Association, and the Johnson Society of London; and an honorary vice president of the Institute of Linguists and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.

David is also a renowned Shakespeare and Original Pronunciation (OP) scholar. For more on his work with the Bard, visit ShakespearesWords.com.

For a full biography and more information on David, visit his website, DavidCrystal.com. Go here for a list of all of David’s published works.

Further links to David’s books:
Oxford Dictionary of Original Shakespearean Pronunciation
Shakespeare’s Words
Everyday Shakespeare: Lines for Life (co-authored with Ben Crystal)
Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation website
A Date with Language

YouTube videos on the history of English:

This is David’s fifth appearance on the podcast. He appeared previously in episodes 5 in June 2018 (Pragmatics), 22 in November 2019 (Received Pronunciation)44 in September 2021 (“Let’s Talk), and 56 in September 2022 (“Sounds Appealing”).

(Bach’s Cello Suite #1 in G Major BMV 1007 Prelude (by Ivan Dolgunov) is courtesy of Jamendo Licensing.)