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British Library to detail growth of the English language

20th August 2010

A new exhibition at the British Library will chart the constant evolution of the English language.

The Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices programme, which opens on November 12th and runs until April 3rd 2011, is the first exhibition to chart the journey English has taken from Anglo-Saxon runes to modern day rap.

Among the pieces appearing in the show will be the Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye, the first book printed in English, and a copy of the King James Bible from 1611.

The showcase will also examine the English language outside of the field of literature and feature exhibits illustrating its use in media such as adverts, posters, text messages and dialect recordings.

Words Words Words author David Crystal, who has also written a book to accompany the show, commented: 'This is a first. No exhibition anywhere has ever been devoted to the entire history and present-day global use of the English language.'

Earlier this year, Robert McCrum scrutinised the development of English in his book Globish and examined its future in an increasingly globalised world.
 

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