Languages don’t have a beginning that can be compared to the birth of a living being.
Anglo-Saxon village re-enactment event in Wirksworth, Derbyshire, 2008.
Hundreds of years ago, people spoke Old English – but it is very different to English today.
Odoacer (left) and Theoderic (right) in a woodcut from the Hartmann Schedel (1493).
INTERFOTO / Alamy Stock Photo
Here, possibly four centuries before women are given a significant voice in heroic poetry in Germany and Scandinavia, a queen speaks out in an English version of a Gothic story.
The Oxford English Dictionary tries to include all words in English (particularly British and American English) from 1200 onwards.
dollar gill | unsplash
Could bringing back words with positive meanings make us happier?
The Old English history of bird names can inform our modern-day birdwatching.
Humans are constantly changing our languages in terms of sounds, words, meanings, and grammar, so much so that it becomes increasingly difficult to understand our own distant relatives across time and space.
A young reader asks: How are languages formed?
How words are used change over time and insisting that their original meaning be adhered to is pretty silly.
A recipe for an eyesalve from ‘Bald’s Leechbook.’
© The British Library Board (Royal MS 12 D xvii)
A team of medievalists and scientists look back to history – including a 1,000-year-old eyesalve recipe – for clues to new antibiotics.
Tolkien probably would have destroyed the work if he thought it might be published.
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Fans of J R R Tolkien must wonder why there is any controversy associated with the recent publication of his 1926 translation of Beowulf. For them anything new from Tolkien is welcome. But imagine if Tolkien’s…