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Episode 1560

Snaggletooth

Many of us struggled with the Old English poem “Beowulf” in high school. But what if you could actually hear “Beowulf” in the English of today? There’s a new translation by Maria Dahvana Headley that uses contemporary...

Too Much Sugar for a Dime

Is the term “Oriental” offensive? Where do we get the phrase “not one iota”? Why do we tell someone to “take a gander”? And who coined the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?

One Language, Many Voices Exhibit

“Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices” is a new exhibit at the British Library in London featuring the earliest printed versions of Beowulf, the Wycliffe and King James Bible, and the oldest known example of written English. This...

Middle English Lessons

If you’re still wondering about how far back in time you could go and still understand the English spoken then, check out written and audio excerpts from the poem Beowulf. Also, this NPR report in which host Robert Siegel gets a lesson in...