Friday, August 10

King Alfred's English

The English language is insane isn't it? I've taught my children the spelling rules, but it's understandable that they still get frustrated, since there are 3500 words that are exceptions to these "rules".  Here's an interesting comparison for you: It takes 12 years for an American to read, write, and spell their own language and still 1 in 5 of us are illiterate. Want to know how long it takes Italians to learn to read and write? 2 years. Two!

Why is the English language so complicated??

 King Alfred's English can tell you exactly why. This book walks you through history and the beautiful development of our quirky language from 55 BC to the present.

Did you know? 
(from the website)
  •  The English were NOT the British. In fact, they fought each other…a lot. And still today, if you call an English person British, he might very well correct you even though he knows you probably won’t understand.
  • You probably don’t pronounce the word “when” like your parents. When you say “when” and “win,” do these words sound the same? If you’re under 50, they probably do. If you’re older, you may still pronounce the sound of the “h” and the words sound slightly different. I still pronounce the “h,” do you?
  • The Brothers Grimm compiled German fairy tales, but they were also famous philologists (and what IS a philologist?)
  • There’s a law for the way languages change that backs up Intelligent Design.
  • For over 300 years the official language of the English court was…French! Seriously. But the English were always fighting the French. That’s true. Find out why.
  • There’s a reason we write “knight” but say “nite,” and you won’t believe how they used to pronounce it.
  • It was once punishable by death to translate even portions of the Bible into English! Yikes!
  • Recent scholarship has shown that at least 80% of the King James Bible is the translation work of just one man. Who was he?

More than a study of words, this entertaining book is also faith-building and reveals the hand of God through history.
The capstone of the book is the story of how we got the Bible in English and it’s influence upon our language.
  • What were the driving ideas behind the Reformation?
  • Are the New Testament documents really reliable and how do they compare to other ancient manuscripts?
  • Why was translating the Bible into English punishable by death?
  • …and what does all THAT have to do with the history of English?

Entertaining yet very informative, this fabulous book gave me many Aha! moments. The first time I said, "Whoa!" out loud was page 2 when I learned that the book of Galatians was Paul's letter to Celts living in Turkey. They were Gallic Celts because they were related to the Celts in Gaul (France.)

The author is funny and drew me right in, sucked me in really; I didn't want to put the book down! It needs to be in everyone's library. It is a must-read for anyone studying the Middle Ages. In fact, we've just finished studying this time period in our history lessons and I plan to make my boys read this before we begin our next year's studies in September. It goes on to discuss well beyond the Middle Ages and will set the stage for the rest of our studies as well.

This 170-page book incorporates maps, timelines, movie suggestions and more to help bring the material to life. Combined with the resources in the Student Pages and Teacher Pages, this book earns high school students a 1/2 credit in history, or a 1/4 credit in history and a 1/4 credit in English.

You can view the Table of Contents or read the first chapter free (link to PDF). You can purchase a soft-cover copy for $16.95 (discounts available for multiple copy purchases,) or it is available on kindle for $5.95

Want to see what other Crew Members think?

Disclaimer: I received this material in exchange for my honest opinion as a member of the TOS Crew, and received no other form of compensation. For whatever they're worth, the opinions are mine and mine alone, as stated in my disclosure policy.

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