Received Pronunciation

The relatively modern concept of ‘standard English’ has become known as Received Pronunciation (RP) or even ‘BBC English’. It was originally based on the accent used by the upper-middle classes in south-east England and the […]

Read more

P.G. Wodehouse

Sir P.G. (Pelham Grenville, nicknamed ‘Plum’) Wodehouse (1881-1975), from Surrey, became one of Britain’s best-loved and most accomplished writers. His literary genius produced unique comic imagery, e.g. “It was one of those still evenings you […]

Read more

British dialects

At the time of WW2 there were at least 50 distinct British dialects, some with derived names such as Cockney, Brummie, Scouse, Smoggie, Janner and Geordie. A dialect denotes the pronunciation (accent), vocabulary (slang) and […]

Read more

The Booker Prize

In 1967 Lord Jock Campbell (1912-94) from Dunbartonshire was about to head the development of the new town, Milton Keynes, following his successful Chairmanship at food distributors Booker-McConnell. He had recently set up Booker’s Author […]

Read more

Middle English

In the period immediately following the Norman Conquest of 1066, there were three main languages spoken in England ~ Old English (O.E.), Latin and French ~ and each served a particular function and part of […]

Read more

Food words

We mainly have the French to thank for many of our food words (like omelette and mustard), but our imports also include such delights as avocado and vanilla from Spain, cauliflower and spaghetti from Italy, […]

Read more

Rudyard Kipling

Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was born in ‘British India’, a place he loved, settled awhile in the USA with his American wife Carrie, but lived mostly in England. He had a life full of “Triumph […]

Read more

Lord Byron

Lord Byron (George Gordon, 1788-1824) gave English literature the ‘Byronic hero’, seen in the novels of the Brontë sisters, for example. This figure has a rocky past which has made him cynical and moody, but […]

Read more

Tyndale’s New Testament

William Tyndale (c.1491-1536) from Gloucestershire was a martyr to the English language in his self-appointed though ultimately fatal mission to produce an English translation of the Bible for the ordinary citizen subjugated by the Church’s […]

Read more

William Blake, author of ‘Jerusalem’

In his time, William Blake (1757-1827) was viewed by some as a nutcase. It was not until a generation after his poverty-stricken death that his poetry and illustrations received acclaim. By then, of course, Blake’s […]

Read more

Garden-themed literature

Many of the common themes used in English fiction can be played out in a garden setting. The circle of life, coming of age, romance, survival, growth, healing, learning, good-versus-evil ~ all have been placed […]

Read more

Old English

Old English (OE) was spoken from the 6th to the 11th centuries in England and southern Scotland. Many of our most common words originate in OE. It evolved from an existing base with a little […]

Read more

Copying is not enabled.