TOS Review- King Alfred’s English

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This spring, when Hubby was TDY, I got sucked into the show, The Tudors. The show is about Henry VIII, his many wives, and the reformation. I love the history of the time period, so I was intrigued when I heard of the book, King Alfred’s English.


King Alfred’s English is a new book by Laurie J. White. The teaser from the book says:

The capstone of the book is the story of how we got the Bible in English and it’s influence upon our language.

  • What were the driving ideas behind the Reformation?
  • Are the New Testament documents really reliable and how do they compare to other ancient manuscripts?
  • Why was translating the Bible into English punishable by death?
  • …and what does all THAT have to do with the history of English?”

My favorite part of the book is the discussion of William Tyndale and his translation of the bible. Some of the words we know so well as “buzzwords” in Christianity are words he coined for the translations when there was not a word that already fit. It is so interesting to really think about where these words came from, and why they were chosen, as well as the difference in phrasing from original texts, the Latin bibles from before the reformation, and the New King James Version.

The book is self is written in a casual tone, so it is an easy read, and I feel like it would be very approachable to the average middle school/high school student. The website for King Alfred’s English,  has resources to help you use this book as a full homeschool curriculum. She has a student page full of primary sources, internet links to explore and other fun and pertinent information. For the teacher, she has a page with worksheets for the students to complete with the chapter, and associated tests for the book. There is more than enough information here to form a full semester course!

I feel like I should include this disclaimer for my readers- This book and associated materials do contain Christian content. I do feel like it could be adapted for secular use as a biblical literacy study, with a pre-read by the parent. There is also discussion of the origin of some words I, as a parent, felt unnecessary (like the word ‘piss’). I am sure many adolescent children would find them interesting none the less; I know my kids love a good potty joke, but I would rather not see it in my curriculum. All in all, the discussion of these words does not take away from the fascinating history and linguistic study in the book.

My children are not old enough to use this curriculum, but it was an enlightening read for me. If you have an interest in the origin of the bible, or the history of the English language, you can find this book on Amazon (the kindle edition is only $5.95!) or on the publisher’s website.

Hear more from the Crew about King Alfred’s English on the TOS Review Crew blog.



Disclaimer- I received this product as part of the TOS Review Crew, free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

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