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English is GREAT - Part 1

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


Are these videos downloadable?. Thanks so much

Hi jogrereco,

Sorry, the videos aren't downloadable.


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello everyone ,
what could I say about Greek language through its live history of over than 2500 years, spoken and written constantly since about 900 BC.There are hundreds of monuments, memorial or burial plaques and of course thousands of papyrus written in ancient Greek, in all the worldwide museums.The letters almost stay the same, but-of course- there are huge differences with the contemporary language and a lot of influences from other populations, during these fifteen centuries.Greek and Latin language are considered to be the mother languages for almost all the main European ones.
Best wishes for all the people, at these tough moments.

Hello! Could you please explain when we can and cannot make the contraction of the verb “have”?
Here I came across this example in the transcript:
“Roger: Well, there’s lots of reasons. We’ve a hundred and fifty million items from all over the world, so we capture a snapshot of what the language is like.“
And I cannot get the point of the short form with “We have”.

Hello again AnnyMarkina

The contracted form 've is very common in speaking because it's shorter. It's a little bit like the way many Spaniards pronounce the ending 'ado' (e.g. 'he hablado') as something like 'ao' instead of 'ado'.

The contraction can be used in most contexts. An exception is when it is used in a short answer such as 'I have' (which we say sometimes instead of a full verb form with object). For example, if you asked me, 'Have you been to Menorca?', I could answer 'Yes, I have' instead of 'Yes, I have been to Menorca'. In this instance, 'Yes, I've' is not correct.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

This video reminds me what incredible changes the English language has undergone and that It Is thanks to its flexibility if nowadays It Is still amongst the most widespread languages in the world. It Is impossible for me to understand Middle English. As for the Italian language, Its origins are from Latin and many dialects are spoken which are often hard to be understood by the Italian themselves.

Hi, I love this page.

I really loved the video, even though I need to get familiarized more with British English.

I'm Italian, and so I know that my language comes from Latin. Having studied latin and a little philology I found out the evolution of the language due to the various contact through the centuries among population of different culture and language. I think it that this kind of evolution is very fascinating. I use to think of language like a "living being", which changes, develops togther with their speakers.
I've studied English literature and history at University, so I read poems and poetry either in old or in middle English. It was a little difficult but understandble.
I agree with the fact that English will change in the future, most of all because of Internet and of immigration and other social changes.

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