Thursday, August 9, 2012

King Alfred's English - A Review


Recommended for ages 12 - Adult

Sample Page from Book


About the Book (from the website)

Do you remember the first time you looked under the hood of a car or popped off the back of an electric toy to see the inner workings? Well, most of us go through our entire life speaking a highly complex and organized set of sounds we call language without ever getting a glimpse under its hood. So come have a look at some of the hidden springs and gears that have steered and energized English over the centuries. King Alfred’s English provides a guided tour of forces and events, conquerors and writers that have shaped, simplified, matured and expanded English into what it is today—the first truly global language in history.

The capstone of the book is the story of how we got the Bible in English and it’s influence upon our language.
  • What were the driving ideas behind the Reformation?
  • Are the New Testament documents really reliable and how do they compare to other ancient manuscripts?
  • Why was translating the Bible into English punishable by death?
  • …and what does all THAT have to do with the history of English?
Laurie White has provided a lot of information on the website concerning this book:

See the Table of Contents
Read the 1st Chapter
Further study for your student
Teacher resources (worksheets, tests, etc.)

And how great is this? There is enough supplemental material to earn credit for a full semester (one half unit) of history, or a 1/4 unit history plus 1/4 unit English.


Our Thoughts:

When I first read the title of this book, I thought...hmm, sounds boring.  Then I read the description of the book with my husband, and we both thought...hmm, this could be interesting.  So I signed up to read it myself.  Even though the age range is 12 years and up, I didn't think my daughters were ready for it.  I decided it would be difficult for them to follow and therefore, they wouldn't get much out of of yet.

So I have been reading it on my own and I really am enjoying it.  I still think it would be a bit much for my 10 and 13 year olds, but I am fascinated with this in-depth history of the English language and think it should be a must-read for my 13 year old in just a few short years.

I have learned SO MUCH that I didn't know before, things which no one has ever taught me.  This just wasn't something that was covered during my school years.  But I think it should have been.  It is such an eye-opener to the history of England and the background of the English language and how it came to be that the Holy Bible was translated in English.  On a side note, the Catholic Church was very resistant to the idea of the Holy Bible being written in any language other than Latin.  They felt it could be detrimental to put the Bible into the hands of ordinary folk; they pondered if common folk would cause more harm than good if left to their own interpretations of the Holy Scripture.  Translating the Bible was a punishable crime.

Things make more sense to me now.  Things such as why some of our words in English so closely resemble their counterpart in German (such as mother & mutter, and father & vater).  The book explains why several languages seem to have so many words or variations of words in common (for example,  English - anxious, German - √§ngstlich, Spanish - ansioso, French - anxieux).

"King Alfred's English" shares the lives of famous and influential people in English History, people like Saint Patrick who helped spread Christianity into Ireland and in turn into England. 

Laurie takes a huge in-depth topic and actually manages to explain it in a way that I can understand, in a way that doesn't make my head spin.  There are a lot of key events, topics, and people covered in this book; but Laurie handles it beautifully.  She breaks it down and continues with it in a way that makes sense to me, even though most of it is totally new to me.

I think this is an awesome book; I am very impressed not only with Laurie's knowledge of the topics, but also her obvious love of the topic and her ability to break it down in an understandable matter.  In a year or two, I will have my 13 year old also read this book.  It helps the English language/grammar make so much more sense.

I don't know what greater recommendation to give you than to tell you that I just ordered the print copy myself.  This is a book that I want on my bookshelf.

Interested in purchasing the softcover book?  Contact me!  For the first 5 people, I have a discount code to buy the softcover book at the wholesale price of 50% off, or $8.47.

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge, as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.


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