We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.co.uk/access.

The BBC Collection - Language

Explore the fascinating history of the English language with these great language listens.

 

Language

  • Routes of English: A Better Class of Language (Series 2, Programme 3)
    by Melvyn Bragg
    Narrated by Melvyn Bragg
    0.00 (0 ratings)
    By your vowels, your station shall be known'. How accents and social class are entwined. For at least 400 years, the way we speak has been one of the fundamental measures by which we've judged our fellow men on the scale of social acceptability. To so many, 'talking proper' matters, and 'rough talk is not quality talk'. But such attitudes are beginning to change.
  • Routes of English: A World of Many Englishes (Series 2, Programme 6)
    by Melvyn Bragg
    Narrated by Melvyn Bragg
    0.00 (0 ratings)
    Two countries separated by a common language', but there are more than two Englishes. We've been speaking English for more than 1,000 years and over that time it has changed radically. As more and more people throughout the world use English and develop their own form of the language, Melvyn Bragg investigates how the British version will change and which, if any, of the many Englishes will dominate.
  • Routes of English: Beyond the Cringe (Series 4, Programme 4)
    by Melvyn Bragg
    Narrated by Melvyn Bragg
    0.00 (0 ratings)
    In the 1950s of premier Robert Menzies, the approved sound of Australian English was more Westminster than Woolloomooloo. These were the last days of the so-called 'colonial cringe', before the assertion of Australia's place as an independent nation with an independent voice. But since the 1970s, 'Australian' has become a recognised and valued variety of the English language. Melvyn Bragg traces the linguistic trail from convicts to Crocodile Dundee and national self-confidence.
  • Routes of English: Coining It (Series 2, Programme 1)
    by Melvyn Bragg
    Narrated by Melvyn Bragg
    0.00 (0 ratings)
    When a new concept or product comes along, how does it get its name? Making up new words for new things or ideas isn't new. New words - linguists call them 'coinages' - are as old as the English language itself. Melvyn Bragg explores the history of linguistic innovation from the Middle Ages, through the inventiveness of the Industrial Revolution, to the latest creations of new technology.
  •  
  • Routes of English: Complete Series 1: Evolving English
    by Melvyn Bragg
    Narrated by Melvyn Bragg
    4.40 (16 ratings)
    Melvyn Bragg looks at how English has evolved over 1,000 years, looking at the disappearance of old dialects like that of Cumbria, and how it has been enriched by foreign languages, from Latin, Old French, and then dozens more as conquest, trade and immigration played their part in recent centuries.
  • Routes of English: Complete Series 2: Humour and Cussing
    by Melvyn Bragg
    Narrated by Melvyn Bragg
    5.00 (3 ratings)
    Melvyn Bragg examines new coinages, puns and wordplay; how accents and social class are entwined; swear words; attempts to stop the evolution of language in its tracks; and, finally, the many varieties of English that are spoken around the world today.
  • Routes of English: Complete Series 3: Accents and Dialects
    by Melvyn Bragg
    Narrated by Melvyn Bragg
    5.00 (2 ratings)
    Melvyn Bragg looks at dialects from around Britain: the Pitmatic of Northumberland, the dialect of (London/Derry), the increasingly elusive Cornish dialect, Pidgin, and Shropshire dialect, then finishing up with a speculation on the future of English dialects.
  • Routes of English: Complete Series 4: People and Places
    by Melvyn Bragg
    Narrated by Melvyn Bragg
    4.70 (3 ratings)
    Melvyn Bragg examines some of the many different varieties of English spoken around the world today, taking in Spanglish from the USA, Indian English, Caribbean English, Australian English, South African English, and finally a kind of 'international English' used between non-native English speakers.
  •  
  • Routes of English: Conclusion (Series 3, Programme 6)
    by Melvyn Bragg
    Narrated by Melvyn Bragg
    0.00 (0 ratings)
    The final programme in the series considers the future of English dialects. In the last programme in the series Melvyn looks at Standard English. He is joined by Lynda Mugglestone, Fellow of English Language at Pembroke College, Oxford and John Wells, Professor of Phonetics at the University of London. Together they attempt to answer some of the questions raised by the series.
  • Routes of English: Cornwall (Series 3, Programme 3)
    by Melvyn Bragg
    Narrated by Melvyn Bragg
    3.00 (1 ratings)
    Melvyn travels west in search of the increasingly elusive Cornish dialect. Cornwall is an evocative place. A Celtic land with a rich mythology, a land of caves and coves, of cream teas and country lanes. At least that's the image that has long attracted travellers and settlers. Yet it's also a land that has, over the last century, faced dramatic social and economic changes: the decline of the traditional fishing, tin and clay industries, and the growth of tourism.
  • Routes of English: France and England (Series 1, Programme 3)
    by Melvyn Bragg
    Narrated by Melvyn Bragg
    0.00 (0 ratings)
    Where better than Hastings to look at the impact of the French on the English language? Melvyn Bragg goes to Hastings, where in 1066 William, Duke of Normandy, defeated King Harold and invaded England. The actual fighting took place in the nearby village of Battle. It was to be the starting point of a long and intense relationship between England and France that continues to this day. The Norman Conquest was not only military but also linguistic, bringing thousands of French words into the language.
  • Routes of English: Freezing the River (Series 2, Programme 5)
    by Melvyn Bragg
    Narrated by Melvyn Bragg
    0.00 (0 ratings)
    English is constantly evolving, but some linguists have tried to 'freeze' it for good. We've been looking for a standard form of the language to adhere to for centuries. If there's one thing that's dominated our journey along the 'Routes of English', it is change. Melvyn investigates those who've tried to purify English and those who think it should be allowed to change.
  •  
  • Routes of English: Home (Series 1, Programme 1)
    by Melvyn Bragg
    Narrated by Melvyn Bragg
    0.00 (0 ratings)
    Melvyn Bragg goes back to his home town of Wigton in Cumbria to see how English is developing - and how dialects are still spoken. He meets townspeople from all generations and walks of life, from octogenarian horse-dealer Tommy Miller to local poet Mary Haslam, and finds that the old ways of speaking are being lost.
  • Routes of English: Import/Export (Series 1, Programme 6)
    by Melvyn Bragg
    Narrated by Melvyn Bragg
    0.00 (0 ratings)
    Conquest, trade and immigration have woven dozens of languages into English. Melvyn Bragg visits Liverpool, home of Scouse, an Irish-based variant of northern English made famous by the Beatles and countless comedians. By the mid-nineteenth century the port of Liverpool ranked second to London and became home to immigrants from all over the world who imported many new words into English.
  • Routes of English: Language at Play (Series 2, Programme 2)
    by Melvyn Bragg
    Narrated by Melvyn Bragg
    0.00 (0 ratings)
    Melvyn has fun and games with puns, wordplay and tongue twisters. Twisting, manipulation and stretching of the English language is an integral part of everyday communication. This language play exists in many forms, as puns, double entendres, word games and verse exercises, and we have been playing with English for centuries.
  • Routes of English: No Pigeon (Series 3, Programme 4)
    by Melvyn Bragg
    Narrated by Melvyn Bragg
    0.00 (0 ratings)
    Melvyn visits Brixton to discover the most imitated, influential form of spoken English today. It's a dialect determined not by geography or profession, but by age, fashion and aspiration. Pulsing through music culture, spread by television and radio, it can be found throughout the UK. Sometimes subversive, often secretive, it is arguably the most vibrant and dynamic form of spoken English in Britain today - the talk, essentially, of the young black population.
  •  
  • Routes of English: Oswestry (Series 3, Programme 5)
    by Melvyn Bragg
    Narrated by Melvyn Bragg
    0.00 (0 ratings)
    Here, Melvyn visits Oswestry. Just five miles from the Welsh border, this is a frontier town whose name means 'boundary'. It's where Offa's Dyke and countless crumbling castles bear witness to centuries of shifting political allegiances. Language too, has been a battleground. Welsh and English have waxed and waned, woven and unravelled. Visit the town's bustling livestock market today and there is little Welsh to be heard.
  • Routes of English: Pitmatic (Series 3, Programme 1)
    by Melvyn Bragg
    Narrated by Melvyn Bragg
    0.00 (0 ratings)
    Talk of the town, talk of the pit in Ashington, Northumberland. It's been called the most beautiful dialect in England. It's the talk of coastal Northumberland that until recently encompassed some of the most heavily mined areas of the country. But now all but one of the collieries has closed. Melvyn Bragg travels to Ashington to listen to old Pitmatic, trace its roots through a thousand years of Northumbrian speech and find out just how the latest generation of young Northumbrians are talking local.
  • Routes of English: Raj to Riches English (Series 4, Programme 2)
    by Melvyn Bragg
    Narrated by Melvyn Bragg
    0.00 (0 ratings)
    The English language in India. Despite being the imposed language of the imperial power, English also had the power to unite the nation. The story of the English language in India is also the story of the British merchants, adventurers and colonial administrators for whom the country was the Empire's jewel in the crown. Calcutta, the great Victorian capital of the Raj, holds the key to the way the language became woven into Indian consciousness, through education, government and the law.
  • Routes of English: Stroke City (Series 3, Programme 2)
    by Melvyn Bragg
    Narrated by Melvyn Bragg
    0.00 (0 ratings)
    Local talk in the city known variously as Londonderry, Derry and, more recently, as Stroke City. Its very name speaks of deep-seated political, social, even linguistic divisions. Known to one section of its inhabitants as Derry, to another as Londonderry, Northern Ireland's second city has a complex linguistic history shaped by waves of settlement and political allegiance. Recently the city's inhabitants have embraced the unofficial name Stroke City, circumventing the linguistic minefield of Derry vs. Londonderry.