The Shorter Word’s Product Reviews

The Shorter Word/King Alfred’s English
Ages 12 and Up

Want your child to absorb more history than you ever thought possible or to actually think grammar is intriguing? King Alfred’s English offers a unique approach to both English and history that is paradigm shifting, faith-building, and fun.

King Alfred’s English provides a guided tour of forces and events, conquerors and writers that have shaped, simplified, matured and expanded English into the language it is today. Specifically—

  • The story of English incorporates the study of language itself.
  • King Alfred’s English makes English political history understandable as it presents events through the lens of 4 language “invasions” and how they changed the course of the way we speak.
  • The publishing of the English Bible had an unprecedented effect on the development of English. King Alfred’s English fleshes out this story along with the Reformation and the men such as Wycliffe and Tyndale who risked or gave their lives to get the Bible to the common English speaking person.

Here are some interesting things your kids will learn from the book:

  • The English were NOT the British. In fact, they fought each other…a lot.
  • For over 300 years the official language of the English court was…French!
  • There are ancient English letters that we no longer use today.
  • All the unpronounced letters in English—were at one point pronounced—the word knight is an example. Can you imagine how it might have sounded?
  • Old English used the letters hw whereas we use wh (same sound).
  • The word “ain’t” was a proper word in the English language.
  • It was once punishable by death to translate even portions of the Bible into English.
  • Grammar and language is always changing/simplifying.
  • The English language today has three times the words as the German language. In fact, English has the most words of any language—in any time of history. This is due to historical, global and technological infusions. Basically, English is open to new words (whereas the French language is not).

The book is soft cover and 170 pages in length. You can see the Table of Contents here. You can read a sample chapter here.

In addition to the book itself, the site offers a free Student Page and a free Teacher Page. These include:

  • Chapter by chapter expansion of topics using free online articles, videos, images, and original source material along with suggested activities, many of which are fun as well as educational.
  • Worksheets for each chapter.
  • Tests that cover each unit.
  • A list of suggested minimum requirements for a 1/2 unit credit in either English or history using King Alfred’s English as the sole text.

Also of interest–Laurie White’s other books for younger readers and her FREE Timeline and Pack of Tricks for history.

This is a very interesting book—and a very interesting website (new English word!).

I don’t think I’ll ever look at words the same way again!