King Alfred’s English
A History of the Language we Speak and Why we Should be Glad we do
Men and women during the times of the Reformation gave their lives so that we could read the Bible in our native tongue! But how did this “native tongue” of ours, that we call English, come to be? This book is a fun and enlightening view of English history, through the lens of the major language “invasions” which affected it, and how they changed the shape and form of English.
More than a history of the English language, this is a highly entertaining and educational celebration of the delights of English. Woven into this history are the stories of several key English authors, whose prose and poetry have influenced the development of English. Learn how words morph and mutate, how grammar shifts and simplifies, and with some zany word histories thrown in, get a fresh look at English altogether!
Also you’ll learn why the English Bible had an unparalleled impact on the development of our language.
“In my 26 years of homeschooling, I have rarely found a book like yours; full of godly, interesting information and presented in such an engaging way. Going through your book with my children is something we still talk about together. I just wanted you to know that I am recommending this book to all of my readers as a must for advanced (high school) language arts.” –Sherry Hayes
Author Laurie J. White’s book King Alfred’s English is enlightening, entertaining, and easy to read about the origin and history of the English language, from the Latin influence of the Romans in Britain, through Anglo-Saxon Old English, Middle English after the Norman Invasion, Early Modern English of Queen Elizabeth I and King James, to Contemporary English. King Alfred’s English is both accurate and pleasurable reading. –Dr. Wes Davis, Professor of English, Dalton State College
Chosen by the Andreolas as one of their TOP TEN PICKS FOR 2010, Dean Andreola writes, “How did Latin become a “prison” to the spread of the gospel? What was the Brothers Grimm’s amazing discovery? Whatever happened to “thee” and “thou,” and how did we get from old to modern English? Can you spot an Anglo Saxon word from a Latin one? The answers may surprise you!” –CBD Homeschool Catalog, Summer/Fall 2010
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine:
Described as “a guided tour of forces and events, conquerors and writers that have shaped, simplified, matured and expanded English,” King Alfred’s English is a study of history, English literature, linguistics, and the English Bible all rolled into one. Its broad scope covers various influences in the development of the English language from Caesar’s invasion of Britannia to the birth of new English words and everything in between. Fifteen chapters are divided into six parts covering 55 BC to the present time. As such, this would make an interesting supplement to any period of history study.
The significance of various invasions of Britain, the Byzantine Empire, the English Bible, and the King James Bible are explained. Plenty of key historical figures (such as Caesar, Constantine, Augustine of Canterbury, William the Conqueror, Chaucer, John Wycliffe, Gutenberg, Martin Luther, Henry VIII, and Shakespeare) are also here. Finally, English language development is studied through grammar and the English dictionary, the far-reaching influences of the British Empire, and American English. The author even discusses email communication and the impact of the English language on the world.
King Alfred’s English is written for grades 7-12 and “curious adults.” As a read-aloud, I would recommend this engaging book for even younger students. Laurie White’s informal writing style, like a warm arm around your shoulder, draws you into what might be considered a dry or daunting topic. However, it is anything but dry.
The front of the book contains a map and timeline. Applicable black-and-white photos and charts are interspersed in the text, and a list of book and Internet resources is found in the back. An index would also have been helpful. On her website, Laurie White has generously supplied chapter worksheets, tests, and research activities which serve to round out this curriculum, to validate it as a full-fledged course, and to ensure its teach-ability.
I used this as an individual study for myself, reading through the chapters and then doing the worksheets. I found it immensely enjoyable and informative, and I plan to read it to my children (ages 9 through 14) this summer just for fun. I will be adding it to my son’s high school history coursework.
I highly recommend King Alfred’s English for homeschool families! This is not your average book on the history of the English language, and it is just the sort of reason we homeschool: to provide our children (and ourselves!) with extraordinary, excellent sources for learning. –Product review by Kathy Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, June 2010
About the Author
Laurie White is a history teacher, literacy tutor, and homeschooling mom of three children (now grown). She writes both fiction and non-fiction books and materials for grades 3-12.