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Birth of a Language [electronic resource]

ITV Productions
Video; Computer Resource; Online Video; Online
Melvyn Bragg begins the story of English in Holland, finding ancestral echoes in the Frisian dialect. What follows is a chapter on survival as the English language weathers Viking and Norman invasions, vying with and eventually absorbing rival tongues. Lively settings such as village pubs and markets bring home the lasting influence of Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse, and Old French. The connection between Christianity, Latin, and an alphabet is explored, as well as the role of the language's first champion, King Alfred the Great. Nobel prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney reads from and discusses the first epic in English, Beowulf.
Release Date
Run Time
52 min.
11 & up
  • Encoded with permission for digital streaming by Films Media Group on Jan. 11, 2006.
  • Films on Demand is distributed by Films Media Group for Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Cambridge Educational, Meridian Education, and Shopware.
The Adventure of English: 500 A.D. to 2000 A.D.
Adventure of English--500 A.D. to 2000 A.D.
  • Overview of the Evolution of the English Language (3:22)
  • Germanic Invasions and the English Language (5:05)
  • Anglo-Saxon Emerges from the Dialects of Germanic Tribes (2:58)
  • Comparisons between Anglo-Saxon Words and Modern English Words (1:01)
  • Revival of Christianity and the English Language (4:28)
  • "Beowulf" and the Old English Language (5:40)
  • Viking Invasion and the English Language (4:03)
  • Great King Alfred and the English Language (4:06)
  • Business and Intermarriages Between the Danes and English (3:52)
  • Old Norse Words in Mainstream English (2:26)
  • King Alfred Promotes Literacy (3:57)
  • Norman Conquest in England (8:52)
New York, N.Y. : Films Media Group, [2006], c2003.
Publisher no.
  • 33208s Films Media Group
  • 33209 Films Media Group
Access Restriction
Access requires authentication through Films on Demand.
1 streaming video file (52 min.) : sd., col., digital.
Mode of access: Internet.
System requirements: FOD playback platform.
Technical Details
  • Access in Virgo Classic
  • Staff View