This course will take place online.
In the trenches, soldiers adopted slang terms, which were later exploited commercially and even used by the Home Front. Soldiers overcame language barriers at every turn – between countries, classes, and comrades – and also found new language to reassure their loved ones at home.
Despite self-censorship and censorship of correspondence, including in the languages of South Asia used by soldiers on the Western Front and in the Eastern Mediterranean, soldiers found a way to communicate their experience of the war. We will also be looking at the language experiences of other nations involved in the conflict.
Who is this course for?
Anyone interested in the history of the First World War and the history of the English language. No previous knowledge of either subject is necessary.
Will I need any equipment or materials?
This course 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.
You will learn
- How developing a language helped soldiers bear life in the trenches
- How commerce exploited soldier slang
- How soldiers managed to communicate in France and Flanders
- How the Home Front adopted soldier slang
- How soldiers managed to communicate, despite the obstacles.
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
- £16/£12 conc.
- Julian Walker
- Max Students
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