One Language, Many Voices
February 8, 2011 2:10 PM   Subscribe

Evolving English: The British Library's Evolving English exhibition runs until 3rd April but if you can't make it to London you can view the English language timeline, map your voice, or try this quiz on the website.
posted by Lezzles (12 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
This is great!
posted by ocherdraco at 3:11 PM on February 8, 2011

I did have a quick look round this when I was at the BL just after New Year, but it was too busy for me to really see much of it in the time I had. I do plan to go back sometime soon when it's less busy, and I did buy a pile of related stuff from the shop :)

There was a Radio 4 programme about the exhibition but it's no longer available on iPlayer, might be worth finding a torrent for it? Also related, there was an article in BBC News magazine to go along with the start of the exhibition.
posted by robertc at 3:15 PM on February 8, 2011

The voice recorders were busted when I went, but some of the examples of evolving English were great (although the Anglo-Saxon chronicle was turned to the wrong page). The Victorian music-hall and carnival posters were awesome in their utterly shameless vileness. "Come look at the SKELETON MAN and the FAT CHILD!" FAT CHILD having a pair of those Monty Python hands that I'm sure there's a word for pointing at it from either side, as if to say "POKE HIM FOR AN EXTRA PENNY"...
posted by DNye at 3:35 PM on February 8, 2011

It's quite fascinating listening to the different renditions of reading Mr Tickle - from the 'map your voice' link, where people are contributing their own accent for the linguistic record of contemporary spoken english. And yes, that one is mine. If I get a chance, I'll try to get down to the British Library, sounds like a good exhibit.
posted by ArkhanJG at 3:36 PM on February 8, 2011

I got 6/6 on the egghead level of the quiz.

The second time.
posted by oddman at 3:37 PM on February 8, 2011

Ohh, and there's the voice map of accepted submissions. Red dots are Mr Tickle, green dots are the 6 words "controversy, garage, neither, scone, schedule, attitude".
posted by ArkhanJG at 3:48 PM on February 8, 2011

Going to be in London this weekend - definitely going to check it out. Thanks!
posted by mammary16 at 3:50 PM on February 8, 2011

OK, that didn't work. You can listen to the accepted recordings using the embedded map here.
posted by ArkhanJG at 3:51 PM on February 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Fantastic! I've been trying to get to this exhibit for months now, but alas, am too busy these days. This assuages my sadness some.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:51 PM on February 8, 2011

This was awesome, and the quiz provided quite a bit of (somewhat humbling) amusement. My score would have been worse had I not taught the Brit Lit Survey last semester (Beowulf to the Restoration, yeah!). Somehow I managed to actually remember some of what we covered on the development of the English language.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:03 AM on February 9, 2011

I went and saw it last month. As a student of linguistics, I was totally geeking out. Great, fun exhibit with a lot of extremely cool stuff in it. I'm thinking about buying that facsimile of Alice's Adventures Underground from the gift shop because omg!
posted by Gordafarin at 5:07 AM on February 9, 2011

My results from the quiz:
Easy peasy: 5/6
Fair to middlin: 2/6
Egghead: 6/6

Something's wrong here.
posted by fredludd at 3:51 PM on February 9, 2011

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