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The Adventure of English - episode three

Programme three of Melvyn Bragg's history of the English language travels to parts of the former British Empire, to see how English met other cultures and other languages, and was enriched by them.

In India, it picked up so many new words that it needed a new Anglo-Indian dictionary. Without the spread of English to native Indians it would have been impossible to run the Raj, and there would have been no jewel in the Imperial crown.

In modern India the use of English splits society, and is at the heart of controversies about education for the poor of Calcutta.

On the different islands of the Caribbean history has mixed European and African languages in different blends, and produced a wide range of dialects.

And in Australia, a confident and robust national language grew out of the slang of 18th century London criminals.

But as English prospered, other languages dwindled. By looking at the history of Welsh, and talking to speakers of currently endangered languages from Native America to Papua New Guinea should English be regarded as a killer?

Directed by Bob Bee

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