This course will take place online.
What did people use ‘spirits of salts’ and ‘blue bag’ for? What were the predecessors of vacuum-cleaners called? Do you have a ‘lounge’ or a ‘front room’ or a ‘sitting room’ (and what is a ‘drawing room’)? Why are French windows French? What is the difference between a wardrobe and cupboard? What exactly is a pantry? Were carpet-slippers made from or for the carpet? And why don’t Americans wear trousers? In this short course we will look at the history of the language we use about our homes, including what we wear, our furniture, and how we behave at home.
Who is this course for?
Anyone interested in social history and the history of the English language; no previous knowledge of the subject is necessary.
What can I expect?
Students are encouraged to bring along their own experiences of language for comparison, and to have a go at using historical accents. On-site courses include physical access to original materials such as historic dictionaries and documents. Online courses use a large range of images of texts for illustration, as well as quotations and explanations. Handouts are issued after sessions.
Joining via Zoom
This course or event will be held via Zoom. You need a computer/laptop or mobile phone to access the Zoom website, and a reliable internet connection. For further information on how to join a Zoom meeting, you can watch the joining video here.
You will need a computer or other device to connect with Zoom and a notebook/paper and pen/pencil, or digital equivalent.
We provide a number of funded bursaries to people who find it hard to pay the full or concessionary rates. Find out more information on how to apply.
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You will learn
- The impact of social class on the terminology of the home
- The origins of several words to do with things in the home
- How words and meanings for furniture and household items have changed
- How the language of how we dress has changed over a thousand years
- How the language used by and to domestic servants developed and faded.
Meet the Tutor
Julian Walker worked as an educator at the British Library for 16 years. He teaches book and printing history, and the history of English. Julian is the authority on the English language during the First World War, a subject of ongoing research in the Languages and the First World War project, which he directs. An associate lecturer at the University of the Arts London, he has written several books on the history of English, in fields such as cooking, sport, and conflict.
Need to Know
- 19:00 - 21:00
- £20/ £15 conc.
- Julian Walker
- Max Students
- No. of Sessions
- Course Code