Friday, August 3, 2012

Review - King Alfred's English

King Alfred's English
A History of the Language We Speak And Why We Should Be Glad We Do

Web Site:
Age: Middle/High School
Cost:  Available on Amazon from $11.51 New or $5.95 Kindle edition

Much like the author, Laurie J. White, I loved the History of the English Language course I took in college.  It was fascinating to trace the roots of the language from its beginnings to where it is today.  I kept my book and have referred to it from time to time; however, it’s a bit dry and a hard read for my kids. 

Getting to review King Alfred’s English was exciting for me.  The author has written the history in a language that is not only enjoyable to read by adults, but is a much easier read for upper middle and high school students that the old college text.

Laurie does and excellent job of tracing the origins of the language from Briton through the invasions of the Latin, Norse, French, Greek and Latin dialects.  Her text focuses heavily on the impact of the Bible on language and the impact of language on translations of the Bible.  A truly fascinating read!

Each chapter helps illuminate words that have become part of the melting pot language that is English.   Additionally, focus on the status of English from once in danger of being exterminated, to a language of the lowly and finally to the most commonly used language in the world is traced.  Contributions of the likes of Wycliffe, Tyndale, King James and Shakespeare provide an engaging backdrop for how the language was proliferated through the Bible, the printing press, and even literature. 

I’m excited to have this text.  My vision is to make this a course that can be taught at our local co-op in the next year.  The author notes it can be taught using materials provided on her website for either 1/2 of a history credit or a combined 1/4 history, 1/4 English credit.

Which leads me to her free resources to help with teaching!  Her web site,, contains resources for both students and teachers.  Student resources include “images, articles, videos, primary sources, and literature related to each chapter.”  Teacher resources include “worksheets, tests and more” that can be used along with the student resources to easily create a strong course.  The only thing I do wish was that the answers to teacher resources weren’t available right on the site – they are too easily accessed by students.  Perhaps password protecting or requiring a teacher email would be better.  

The cost of the book, especially the e-book, makes this text very accessible to all students.  In addition to Amazon, King Alfred's English can be found at the following: CBDRAINBOW RESOURCEGrace and Truth Books.

I know I was excited to once again delve into the English language.  I believe students will be equally motivated to see how the language has been shaped by various cultures and the role Christianity has played in the formation of spoken and written English.

I highly recommend this book! Want to check it out for yourself?  You can read the first chapter - here.

To see reviews by other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew – click here.

*** Disclaimer:  I received this book free of charge as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review.

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