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 don't understand what means 'We capture a snapshot of what the language is like"

Hello Krucenko1990,

A snapshot is a quick photograph which shows what is happening at a particular moment. Here the word is used more broadly to mean any information which shows the current state of something. For example, a set of data about the economy can give a snapshot of the economy at a given moment.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Well I don`t know much about the history or evolving of Arabic. We spent much time learning it in school and it was interesting and full of art. It was much more complicated and difficult to understand, they used to write without dots, I don’t understand how as long as it is the same alphabet we are using today.
If reading Middle Arabic is difficult to me, I think Middle English is a mission impossible, as long as I don`t have any idea about the history of it or how people used to write. I`ve come across some poems for Shakespeare and it was like reading Chinese.
I agree with what was mentioned in the video, the abbreviated language used in texting and chat rooms is affecting English, and as technology is spreading out these changes are becoming faster. I hope it doesn`t change much cause it is very elegant and beautiful just the way it is.

Chinese characters are really interesting, I learned from history books of its story. And one can guess the meaning of the character though you may don't know how to pronounce it in a right way. And that's why sometimes we make mistakes on rare use characters. In terms of English, I am confident in its use around the world. Just as it said in the video, it will definitely influenced by new technology. Besides, I guess it will surely influenced by different cultures as well, since intercultural communication happened strongly now, and people interact with each other by language, mostly English. What's more, during the interacting with cultures of other nations, English will become better in the future.

What makes English so great? Colonial conquest around the world in the past, of course... All great empires of all time is built by wars... And Great Britain is no exception ))) But among all the conquerors of the past (France, Spain, Portugal, etc.), England was more humane. The British have more respect for the unique culture of other peoples than other Europeans.

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 couldn't play the videos on my computer, too. Then, I tried accessing the site via my phone, it still isn't working. It shows "Connection Error".