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As a long term friend of the Schwa, I am very excited about this developments.

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Thank you! First issue of the new format is coming out today!

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Dec 28, 2022Liked by Colin Gorrie

I love this! I am so fortunate to have met you through Yiddish, even though I’m in California. Your Baby Steps to Beowulf class, which I took because of your Ten Not Boring Tips on YouTube was incredibly helpful. I’m excited to learn more.

Recently we’ve been discussing all the vowel sounds of “A” that native English speakers don’t think about. In school we learned about a long “A”, as when it’s followed by an “I” or single consonant and an “E”, and a short “A” when followed by a consonant. But not what “A” sounds like or becomes silent in words like marriage, bag, Suzanne. Where do the “A” pronunciations come from and how did they develop?

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Hi Joan! A lot of the spelling weirdness of English is due to the fact that the spelling system was mostly stabilized with the introduction of printing... just before a massive set of sound changes that altered the pronunciation of many vowels in the language. We never updated the spelling to match these changes. Another source of problems is that English has many more sounds – especially vowels – than the Latin alphabet has. Latin only had a few vowel sounds, so all they needed were A, E, I, O, U (and maybe Y). But English has somewhere around two dozen, depending on the dialect and how you count them... so all this brings the need to use the 6 vowel letters in creative ways! I think the history of English spelling would be a fun topic for a future issue...

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Welcome back to newsletter creation, Colin!

I like the new focus and wish you a wonderful 2023 🎉

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Thank you, Bülent! Got a fresh issue coming out today 😄

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Excited to receive this newsletter -- always great to see more linguistics-oriented newsletters on Substack. Welcome!

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Thank you, Rebecca! The next issue is finally on its way today 😄

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Feb 13, 2023Liked by Colin Gorrie

Hi, I've just come across your YouTube channel and this newsletter when looking for a way to learn Old English. I hope there will be another Baby steps to Beowulf class in the future as I've missed the last one!

I'm a literature and history teacher for an online Classical school, with an academic background in the medieval period of both those fields. I took a semester of Old English in college but only remember a few tiny bits and pieces.

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Hi Meghan! Currently I don't have any Baby Steps to Beowulf classes planned but I do have a new Old English for Beginners course that I'm teaching through the Ancient Language Institute: https://ancientlanguage.com/beginner-old-english/

The difference between the two courses is that the new Old English for Beginners course sees you reading about 8000 words of beginner-friendly Old English over 14 weeks, rather than about 1000 words of authentic Old English texts over 8 weeks. I made a video with Luke Ranieri about the new approach that you might enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5APe4-cf7nU

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Dec 29, 2022Liked by Colin Gorrie

Super glad to see all of this! Looking forward to seeing what is to come! As a Slavic linguist, would love to see Slavic related things :)))

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Hi Nathan! Slavic would be very fun to tackle, especially since I don't have much background in it – apart from a year of Russian classes in university. It would be a good opportunity for me to learn something new as well!

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Dec 28, 2022Liked by Colin Gorrie

Can we expect further adventures of the Gutteral R?! 👀

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Yes, especially since the first edition neglected Portuguese, which I think could provide quite a crucial bit of evidence for the conclusion that the European guttural R has multiple origins.

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