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Middle English video goes viral and triggers BBC

10 October 2014

A video by University of Groningen staff has gone viral on the internet and has even attracted the interest of the BBC. Sebastian Sobecki, Professor of Medieval English Literature and Culture, and three of his students have recorded an old poem in Middle English, Speke Parrot by John Skelton. The video was watched over 120,000 times on YouTube within two days of being uploaded. In addition, the video has got the highest-ever rating for a history video on Reddit.

The video was made by three students on the Research Master’s in Classical, Medieval and Renaissance Studies: Floor Kuiper, Hiske Feenstra, and Nadine Kuipers. The video includes animations and you can read along with the text. Sebastian Sobecki reads the poem aloud in Middle English and also pronounces a number of the embedded languages, for example Flemish, Spanish, Latin and German, as they would have sounded at the time.

The video has given rise to a lot of discussion about how English would have sounded in the past, including at the BBC.

Video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCckcTHWqKw

BBC article

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-29536411?ocid=socialflow_twitter

Reddit
http://www.reddit.com/r/history/comments/2ijzal/for_those_wondering_what_middle_english_sounded/?sort=old ).

More information

Sebastian Sobecki, tel. 050 363 7047 / 363 58 50, http://www.rug.nl/staff/s.i.sobecki/

Last modified:15 October 2014 4.03 p.m.

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