The story of English starts more than a thousand years ago. Richard goes to the British Library to hear – and see – how the language has changed over the years.

Task 1

Which of these things do Richard and Roger discuss at the British Library?


Task 2

Type in the missing words or numbers.


Task 3

Can you turn these SMS messages into correct English?


Task 4

Choose the best phrasal verb to complete the sentence.




Language level

Advanced: C1
Upper intermediate: B2


"There is" with plurals?? Rogers says: "there's lots of reasons", "there's no grammars, there's is no guides".

Hi Ivanhzo,

In informal situations, it's not uncommon for native speakers to use 'there's' with plural nouns. I never recommend that my students speak this way, as they are judged differently as non-native speakers, but it's useful to know that natives speak this way sometimes!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Spanish is a great language so I was remembering that our language have several greek and latin roots like the best known phrase: -Nosce te ipsum- that means: You have to know yourself, this is the knowlege principle, another phrase that I study when I was a child: vox populi vox Dei, that means: The people voice is the voice of God.
I don't think that I'll be possible to read and understand the Middle English because after I have readed some of phrases that Shakespeare written, I consider is different like the english today and I see other words that I never seen before.
I think that English is a versatile and live language and surely, it will be changing with the step of the years.

Spanish language started around one thousand years ago after the defeat of Roman Empire, so is base in Latin Language and catch many words from other cultures and language, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra is as equivalent to Shakespeare in Spanish with his book "El Quijote de la Mancha", in my country nowadays Spanish language was enriched with Native languages as Quechua, some words from it is commonly used in daily basis.

English has gone through remarkable impacts of history and culture. It is not impossible to count the phrases in English but to really get through their meanings we need to get an historical insight into English comprehension. As though it seems that English is the most proficient language of the world but very few people can contextualise their meanings with a sufficient labour.

-Chinese is one of biggest historic languages the belonging to Sino-Tibetan languages, and have been invented for over 5000 years.
-I think I can read Middle English for about 50 percent, because it still have respectable similarity with Modern English from the video.
-I believe that English will be more and more popular in the future. Your know, Chinese is perhaps difficult for non-native people to learn, so it's incovenient to be used as a global language. English is deeply impacted by French in history, and it will be affected by other langhages in the future.

it will be affected by other languages in the future.

Hello Team.
Help me with this, please.
I can't catch what Roger says in the video with time code 1:45 - 1:50.
But the transcript says :
"And so what you can see is how this changed and evolved over time."
Is it correct to use the sentence in past tense rather than present perfect?
"What you can see is how this has changed and evolved over time."
Would you like to explain, please?
Thank you in advance.

Hello Nizam,

What the transcript says is accurate. Yes, the past simple is fine here, as he's really talking about changes in the past, some of which are quite old. It's true that he speaks about English still changing, so I can see why you might prefer the present perfect (and that would also be fine), but the past simple is also OK here.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello everyone.
☆ What do you know about the history of your language?
- 'Melayu' is a major language of the Austronesian family. It has an official status in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunai and Singapore. It's spoken since a thousand years ago and now by 290 million people nearly across southeast of Asia.
The Indonesian language is a variant of Melayu and is the official language of Indonesia. It's primarily used in commerce, administration, education and the media.
☆ Do you think you could read Middle English? Why or why not?
- Yes I do, when we look up to Middle English, say, Shakespear's periode, where printing has come in and the begining standart of the language has been used, it indicates that it's not difficult like old english anymore but of course it's also not as easy as to read modern english. Definitely, It will take more time.
☆ How do you think English will change in the future?
- Technology enable people all over the world speaking English with each other but impact of them will change the language. However, the changing takes a long time, at least a hundred years or maybe more. People often to speak in easy way, the main idea of the communication is the message across. So I guess, the future of english is it will be shortening words, it will be communicated in less grammers and adopts many words from other languages.