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.


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.






I used to be able to watch the videos, but not any more!!!

Hello houterman,

It sounds as if you may need to install the latest version of the Adobe Flash Player on your device. You could also try viewing the page in a different browser. If neither of these ideas works, please let us know what browser version you're using and we'll look into it.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I couldn't play the video on my computer. I don't know why? Anyone can give some help?

Hello Monkey King,

I'm sorry to hear that you're having some problems with the video. I have checked the video and it is working correctly, so I suspect that this is a compatibility issue with your device or your local settings. Do you have problems with other videos on the site or is it only this page? Please try accessing the site via a different device to see if this helps, and let us know the result.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

I am not able to see link for videos for most of the Sessions.?

Hello SANDHYA03,

I'm not sure exactly what you mean. Do you mean you cannot see the video player window? Or that you can see it but the video does not start?

It may be a compatibility issue, especially if you are using a mobile device such as a phone or tablet. Please try accessing the site using a different device (a laptop or desktop computer, for example) or using a different browswer to see if that helps. Also make sure that you have Adobe Flash Player installed and updated.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Old Chinese is like a different language. We had to spent time to learn it at school. In modern Chinese, one meaning is usually expressed using one word made up of two or more characters. Old Chinese usually uses only one character to express the same meaning. It was really efficient, wasn't it? Or maybe the spoken language was different from the written one. Since today we only have chances to read old language than to hear them. So we suppose there is no difference. One thing for sure is that it was really hard to get those information on books made of bamboo slips. Maybe our ancestors had to squeeze many information into very limited spaces, so they had to simplify their words by making them shorter?

I can't read Shakespeare. I have tried and given up. I still need to improve my contemporary English. Maybe after I become extremely proficient in my present learning, I will progress to old English? But it is quite unlikely, I have to say.

I hope it won't change much. I find those text messages are quite hard to grasp. Some of the words are substituted by things have the similar sound, like for by 4, but some are simply shortened like holidays by hols.