The Routes Of English

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
0101Evolving English - Home1999101519991019

Melvyn Bragg presents a 12-part history celebrating 1,000 years of the spoken language of Britain, from the first to the second millennium. 1: `Home'. How we think of - and the words we need and use to describe - our patch. Bragg travels to his home town of Wigton in Cumbria to listen to locals talk about their idea of home. NB Series 1 "Evolving English" and series 2 "Humour and Cussing" were rebroadcast as a 12 part series running from 20000706 to 20000921.

0102Evolving English - The Dawn Of English - The Teachers1999102219991026

Melvyn Bragg presents a 12-part history celebrating 1,000 years of the spoken language of Britain, from the first to the second millennium. 2: `The Dawn of English - the Teachers'. Bragg travels to Winchester, headquarters of Old English, to trace the path from a 10th-century language lesson to the English taught and spoken today. With Dr Kathyrn Lowe, Dr April McMahon and Ian Hislop

0103Evolving English - A French Invasion1999102919991102

Melvyn Bragg presents a 12-part history celebrating 1,000 years of the spoken language of Britain, from the first to the second millennium. 3: `A French Invasion'. From Hastings in Sussex, Bragg traces the influence of French on the English language, from 1066 to the European Union. With Lisa Appignanesi, Dr Kathryn Lowe, Frank McLynn and J C Smith.

0104Evolving English - From Tabard To Canterbury1999110519991109

Melvyn Bragg presents a 12-part history celebrating 1,000 years of the spoken language of Britain. 4: `From Tabard to Canterbury'. The Middle English of Chaucer's `Canterbury Tales' is as vivid today as it was when it was written 600 years ago. Chaucer scholar Terry Jones joins Dr Kathryn Lowe, Dr Ruth Evans and Martin Starkie to talk about what Middle English really sounded like.

0105Evolving English - The Power Of English1999111219991116

Melvyn Bragg presents a history celebrating 1,000 years of the spoken language of Britain, from the first to the second millennium. 5: `The Power of English'. Bragg discusses the flowering of English during the Renaissance. With the Protestant Church preaching in English, and Shakespeare at the height of his powers, this was a golden age for the mother tongue. With Derrick J McClure and Dr Kathryn Lowe.

0106 LASTEvolving English - Import/export1999111919991123

Melvyn Bragg presents a history celebrating 1,000 years of the spoken language of Britain, from the first to the second millennium. 6: `Import/Export'. For more than 300 years Liverpool was one of Britain's most significant ports - for produce and people. The city has received waves of immigrants and the great freights of language that have landed with them, from Caribbean, Chinese and Jewish to Scouse.

0201Humour And Cussing - Coining It2000011420000118

In six programmes Melvyn Bragg continues his exploration of the history of the spoken language of Britain. 1: `Coining It'. New words are as old as the English language itself, as is revealed by this exploration of linguistic innovation from the Middle Ages to today.

0202Humour And Cussing - Language At Play2000012120000125

In six programmes Melvyn Bragg continues his exploration of the history of the spoken language of Britain. 2: `Language at Play'. Puns, malapropisms, double entendre - just a few ways in which comedians unleash the comic potential of language. Bragg investigates the way the development of English has encouraged wordplay.

0203Humour And Cussing - A Better Class Of Language2000012820000201

In six programmes Melvyn Bragg continues his exploration of the history of the spoken language of Britain. 3: `A Better Class of Language'. For generations, how you talk has affected how people regard you. These days the cut-glass vowels of 50 years ago are out of date. Are the flattened sounds and glottal stops of urban Britain the new classy way to speak? With Professor Richard Hoggart.

0204Humour And Cussing - Unspeakable English2000020420000208

In six programmes Melvyn Bragg continues his exploration of the history of the spoken language of Britain. 4: `Unspeakable English'. A look at the power of strong language to offend - it is still the main cause of complaints about broadcasting standards, and the number of potentially offensive words is large.

0205Humour And Cussing - Freezing The River2000021120000215

In the fifth of six programmes, he looks at how language is continually evolving, while for at least 350 years people have been trying to fix its grammar and pronunciation.

0206 LASTHumour And Cussing - A World Of Many Englishes2000021820000222

Melvyn Bragg concludes his series on the history of the language. 6: `A World of Many Englishes'. He looks at the many varieties of what has become the lingua franca of the world and explores American influences on how English works and is developing. With Professor Steven Pinker and novelist and actor Stephen Fry

0301Accents And Dialects - Do You Speak Pitmatic?20001123

Melvyn Bragg surveys 1,000 years of spoken English. Pitmatic has been called the most beautiful dialect in England. It comes from coastal Northumberland, encompassing what was, until recently, one of the most heavily mined parts of the country. Melvyn travels to Ashington to listen to it spoken, trace its roots and find out how young Northumbrians speak.

0302Accents And Dialects - Stroke City20001130

Melvyn Bragg surveys 1,000 years of spoken English. In Londonderry/Derry, differences in dialect between hostile communities have led to fatal exchanges. Even describing the place from which you come has cost lives. Bragg looks across the Foyle with Gerry Anderson, who coined the name `Stroke City' to bypass the tediously long alternative without declaring a bias.

0303Accents And Dialects - Some Handsome20001207

Melvyn Bragg surveys 1,000 years of spoken English. 3: Some Handsome. Bragg goes in search of real Cornish, which is being threatened now by the hordes of incomers renaming ancient coves with Hollywoodisms like `Blue Lagoon'.

0304Accents And Dialects - No Pidgeon20001214

Melvyn Bragg surveys 1,000 years of spoken English. 4: No Pigeon. Bragg takes to the streets of Brixton to trace the routes of London Jamaican, from its Caribbean pidgin origins to its celebration by the young, white and Asian, as well as black. Celebrated dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson joins him to discuss how the profile and of Caribbean patois in Britain came to be raised.

0305Accents And Dialects - Border Talk20001221

Melvyn Bragg surveys 1,000 years of spoken English. 5: Border Talk. Bragg travels to Oswestry, in Shropshire but very near the border with Wales, to discover how 1,000 years of feuding and intermarriage have resulted in a fascinating linguistic union.

0306 LASTAccents And Dialects - Aw Righ't Luvvie?20001228

Ben Elton denies the charge of affecting a `mockney' accent when he joins Melvyn Bragg in discussion with Professor John Wells and Dr Lynda Mugglestone. Is `Estuary English' the new standard, is it a dialect, and where does it leave the old dialects?

0401People And Places - What Is Spanglish?20010906

Melvyn Bragg surveys spoken English around the world. He traces the development of English in what was to become the USA, from the arrival of the Pilgrim Fathers in 1620 right up to the current rise of Hispanic English in New York's Spanish Harlem.

0402People And Places - Raj To Riches20010913
0403People And Places - The Hurricane Speaks20010920
0404People And Places - Beyond The Cringe20010927

Melvyn Bragg surveys spoken English around the world. He talks to Australian academics and dictionary-makers about how Australian English has diverged from that of the UK.

0405People And Places - The Long Trek To Freedom20011004

Melvyn Bragg surveys spoken English around the world. `The Long Trek to Freedom: South African English'. He examines the new-found influence of English in the post-apartheid era.

0406 LASTPeople And Places - Whose English Is It Anyway?20011011

Melvyn Bragg surveys spoken English around the world. `Whose English Is It, Anyway'. Bragg meets people for whom English comes naturally, although it is not their mother tongue.

9999Talking Posh

In this special edition of Routes of English, Melvyn Bragg turns his attention to the mysterious speech patterns of Britain's aristocrats for whom Cadogan Square will forever be "squaur". But was it ever thus? And is toffs' talk the product of a lineage that in many cases stretches back to the Middle Ages?