The Adventure of English is a British television series (ITV) on the history of the English language presented by Melvyn Bragg as well as a companion book, also written by Bragg. The series ran in 2003.
The series and the book are cast as an adventure story, or the biography of English as if it were a living being, covering the history of the language from its modest beginnings around 500 AD as a minor Germanic dialect to its rise as a truly established global language.
In the television series, Bragg explains the origins and spelling of many words based on the times in which they were introduced into the growing language that would eventually become modern English.
Melvyn Bragg travels through Britain to tell the story of how an insignificant German dialect, which only arrived in the country in the fifth century, evolved into a language which is now spoken and understood by more people than any other around the world. We trace English from its humble roots to its flowering in the writing of Shakespeare and his contemporaries.
English is a global language. Every day, in cities all around the world, English is used in encounters between people of different countries. It is estimated that well over a thousand million people around the world speak, or have a working understanding of, English.
This is its story. It's a story that really reads like an adventure of extraordinary survival, invasion, near extinction on more than one occasion, and astonishing flexibility.
1. Birth of a Language 2. English Goes Underground 3. The Battle for the Language of the Bible 4. This Earth, This Realm, This England 5. English in America 6. Speaking Proper 7. The Language of Empire 8. Many Tongues Called English, One World Language