The video above provides a historical overview of the events which affected the evolution of English. The amusing animation by Open University shows how words from the Normans were mingled with the Old English that preceded them. Although informative and funny, the 10 minute history video doesn’t really show you what older forms of English sounded like.
Spoken Examples – History of English Language
The video below provides more insight into the history of English language by providing spoken examples of Old English (think Beowulf), Middle English (like Chaucer), Early Modern English (Shakespeare) and Modern English (he reads from Dickens as an example). The video by Simon Gerg also talks about how Old Norse words have influenced dialects such as Cumbrian and provides an example of spoken Old Norse, the language of the Vikings.
At the end of the video Gerg even provides a spoken example of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language from aprox 5000 years ago. It is thought to have originated in the Russian steppes and is the ancestor of most of the languages of Europe and many in Asia too.
You can learn more about the influence of Old Norse on the Cumbrian dialect in the video below.