Given the state of 2020, it makes sense that thoughts about time travel have become pretty common.

Or maybe it’s just me.

I’m currently enjoying reading Ryan North’s How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler, and he suggests language as one of the key things you’ll need to invent first if you go far enough back in time. But assuming you’re not traveling too far, this 2016 Scholarly Kitchen post will give you a sense of how many years you could go in time and still understand spoken English. To further refine your time travel plans, I’ll recommend the video below, which takes you through 1300 years of spoken English in a little over two minutes.

Good luck, and be sure to send a postcard.

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He serves on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.


4 Thoughts on "A Fast Trip Through 13 Centuries of English"

Meh. Until roughly 100 years after the Norman invasion, you couldn’t really call it English. And what’s with the Scottish brogue on Benjamin Franklin? Really?

Benjamin Franklin was a Londoner in his day! For decades he lived at 36 Craven St, Charing Cross, London WC2N 5NF, United Kingdom

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