Monday, October 11, 2010 - 7:30pm


Discovery Centre
Jewry Street
SO23 8SB
United Kingdom


The story of English has no real beginning, but, when the Romans withdrew from Britannia, Germanics began streaming across the North Sea, and they brought with them a language we now call English. The Angles invaded north and south of the River Humber. The Jutes invaded what we now call Kent. The Saxons invaded Essex and Sussex. From Sussex, they moved westward to create the Kingdom of Wessex, and its first shire was Hampshire.

The English of this kingdom was called West Saxon; today, we call it West Country English. It was the language of King Alfred, and since Alfred's time, Hampshire's West Saxon has become a rural dialect. Meanwhile, London dialects have provided the basis for various forms of English to be heard in the modern county. In addition, the arrival of English-speaking immigrant groups from Asia has provided further new urban dialects. Nonetheless, had Winchester remained the capital of England, the Queen would be speaking Tess Durbeyfield's English.

Christopher Mulvey is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Winchester. He was a schoolboy at Ealing Abbey and an undergraduate at Magdalen College, Oxford; he received his PhD from Columbia University. He taught in the United States from 1963 to 1978. He is the recipient of awards from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Academy, and the University of Virginia. He was President of the Collegium for African American Research from 2003 to 2007, and he was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts in 2008. His articles are numerous, and his books include Anglo-American Landscapes (1983), Transatlantic Manners (1990), New York: City as Text (1990), Black Liberation in the Americas (2001), Dominic St John Mulvey: London Irishman (2005), and William Wells Brown's Clotel (2006).