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The English project

July 07, 2008

Hello again,

It is always interesting to find websites that will be of interest to teachers...

...and students alike. A new Internet site (http://www.englishproject.co.uk/) has been dedicated to unusual new project, a “living museum,” for the exploration of the English language. The launch of the project is to mark the 80th anniversary of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and the mission is:

to deepen people’s understanding and knowledge of the English language, its history and continuing development so that all English speakers everywhere can better appreciate, use and enjoy it.

The project’s physical base is in Winchester, the town associated with King Alfred the Great. Its Chairman is Professor Christopher Mulvey.

The website is itself a burgeoning source of information with an article bank that is in its first stages. We can learn that: “Legend tells us that the story of English in England began in 449 in a place then called Britannia with the landing of a band of warriors led by Hengst and Horsa coming from across the North Sea. However, it seems that Saxon people had been arriving in Britannia from at least 400 so Hengst and Horsa may have found a welcoming party who understood fairly well what they were saying.” It is also an interactive site with a discussion forum and a form for submitting any coinages that readers feel might deserve to be added to the OED.

While the website is available now, the physical project will not be open to visitors until 2012. As this is also the year of the London Olympics, its founders no doubt hope for a rich stream of international visitors.

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