The English language in Kent from 597 to 2022

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Friday 16 September, 5pm
The Arc Winchester, Jewry Street, Winchester, SO23 8SB

Every county has its English language story to tell, and among the most interesting are the stories of Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Hampshire, and Kent. A thousand years ago, they were heartlands of the royal dialects of Old English: Northumbrian, Mercian, West Saxon, and Kentish. Northumbrian evolved to become the royal dialect of Edinburgh; Mercian evolved to become the royal dialect of Westminster. West Saxon evolved to become the republican dialect of Virginia.

On past Heritage Open Days, the English Project has told those stories. Now is time to ask what happened to royal Kentish? Why is it nowhere a socially-dominant dialect? There was a chance that it might have become the international dialect of printed English. That did not happen. Why not? The answer involves Saint Berta, Saint Augustine, William Caxton and Tracey Emin. A story to take us back over sixteen hundred years - involving accents, dialects and even food. 

For those unable to participate in person, this event will also be livestreamed on Facebook - details to follow on the Winchester Heritage Open Days website.

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