From new words such as "bling" and "email" to the role of text messaging and other electronic communications, English is changing all around us. Discover the secrets behind the words in our everyday lexicon with this delightful, informative survey of English, from its Germanic origins to the rise of globalization and cyber-communications.
Professor Curzan approaches words like an archaeologist, digging below the surface to uncover the story of words, from the humble "she" to such SAT words as "conflagration" and "pedimanous."
In these 36 fascinating lectures, you'll
English is an omnivorous language and has borrowed heavily from the many languages it has come into contact with, from Celtic and Old Norse in the Middle Ages to the dozens of world languages in the truly global 20th and 21st centuries. You'll be surprised to learn that the impulse to conserve "pure English" is nothing new. In fact, if English purists during the Renaissance had their way, we would now be using Old English compounds such as "flesh-strings" for "muscles" and "bone-lock" for "joint."
You may not come away using terms like "whatevs" or "multislacking" in casual conversation, but you'll love studying the linguistic system that gives us such irreverent - and fun - slang, from "boy toy" to "cankles."
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses
Studied early music (baroque period) and church music as a college student and then worked in high tech for 30 years.
Yes. Tons of information, almost all of which is interesting.
Incredible scope of topics and word studies.
No. First one.
Took a month to listen to whole book.
I rarely give 5 star reviews to anything. This series is deserving of 5 stars.
Professor Curzan was easy to listen to and understand. She spoke fluently and confidently. I loved the word play and history. The consistent referencing meant it was easy to get further information.
Learning the different meanings and beginnings for words, such as fathom, nice and wife. The history of words just enthralled me. Also Prof Curzan's input to the word of the century - she.
She was funny, easy to understand and expressive. She has a way of using her tone of voice to convey her thoughts. This is shown most prominently when discussing the N word.
I laughed out loud many times throughout this lecture series.
I enjoyed this lecturer so much, I think I may listen to it again. As a Spanish teacher there is so much I can use when explaining languages to my students and this lecturer series really helps.
I also loved the speaker. She sounds adorable and you can get a sense of her personality within the lessons. 😊
Anne Curzan is a masterful teacher. She is organized, yet conversational. She gives you a cornucopia of linguistic and lexicographical information that is both fascinating and instructive. She is funny and adept at giving felicitous examples to support her point. You will learn so much about the English language in this course. I just can't rave enough about it. It's far better that John McWhorter's meandering courses. I think I learned more from Curzan's few lectures about English's history than McWhorter's entire course about the subject. This is one of the best Great Courses.
Easy to follow, contains lots of interesting info about the English language. I looked forward to each lecture and now wish there was another course to follow this one.
Your Brother in Christ
This was a fun course to listen to. Anne Curzanne kept the discussion lively and did well relating the subject to everyday experience giving a person a different perspective on what "proper" and "improper" English is discussing different ideas as to how the English language works, grows, expands and changes over time and why it does so.
I found the discussion of influences different languages have had on English to be absolutely intriguing, especially where Norse and Medieval English are concerned because of how related those two early Germanic languages must have been to begin with, But also the influence of French in two waves was interesting and that the two dialects have given us different pronunciations for essentially the same words which have taken on completely different even if related meanings in the English language. Fascinating.
The Author does a wonderful job in this course making the subject matter interesting, relating it to different social issues, or offering you "party favors" at the beginning of the lecture.
Can't say I found anything wrong. She gave a great course of lectures presenting interesting material in an interesting way.
I would absolutely listen to this series again - and again - and again. You can't appreciate it all the first time through. It would be wonderful to have a followup lecture each year to see how we morph on the continuum.
Everything was compelling. Anne is credible, interesting, and has an off beat sense of humor that keeps things in perspective. Her superb organization of concepts makes her easy to follow. Excellent use of examples. Just wish I could remember them all!
As this was not a novel with characters, an interesting question. I was sincerely struck however with Anne's own beautiful, expansive, choice of descriptive words. Even if I hadn't learned volumes from the content, I would have appreciated her word choices for their own use in context.
Perfect title. Or perhaps a paraphrase of the song title Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered - by Words.
The Great Courses - a Teaching Company offerings are a wonderful contribution to the Audible library. The courses create opportunity for those of us who stopped formal education years ago. Audible, thank you for providing Great Course material.
An author with a more serious background.
Found a better, more scholarly lecturer for this topic.
Spent too much time on how we should police the English language to remove offensive ("sexist") words from the language.
Mostly a waste of time. There are much better books on the history of our language.
This lecture series was disappointing.
A case where less would have been more. GREAT stuff in the first 2/3, but it goes off the rails starting with lecture 27(?). The first 20+ lectures explain the cobbled mess of English words and spellings and engagingly discusses the multiple origins of related words (why a person on foot is a "pedestrian", etc.) At lecture 27, she lets her inner feminist take center stage and quickly becomes a bore and inconsistent. Prior to this, she explains that her job and dictionaries merely tell you how people commonly use words; NOT to tell us how a word SHOULD BE used.
At 27, however, she begins to dictate what terms are 'offensive' or 'dated'. To use a direct quote, "if it doesn't matter, then DO IT MY WAY." She believes male writers should use "he or she", or alternate between the two, but overlooks the trend I see among female writers to use "she" exclusively. She also states that "actress" is seen by the public as a substandard category of the broader term "actor" and should be discontinued. And on it goes. In summary, her biases greatly diminish her credibility as an objective instructor.
Following lectures are mere catalogs of medical and military terms that are in common usage, and even here she misses some great examples-- though as I said, the last third of these lectures could be deleted entirely and this book improved thereby.
On the plus side, I did enjoy the first 2/3 enough that I won't ask Audible for a refund. That's worth mentioning.
"For the wordy among us..."
For those of us who lean on the wordy side, this course is a fantastic insight into where some of the words we use daily have originated and how our language evolves. Professor Curzan is an engaging speaker and shares some interesting information - the things we simply don't consider about the language we use every day!
Great information and a fascinating lecture. I'm left a lot more aware of the language we use, of the metaphors that among other things shape the way we think of love and arguments, and the rich history of constant change as we seek new ways of expressing ourselves.
This was a clear and informative "tour" of the birth a nd development of words a nd their deployment. Very well delivered by Anne Curzan in a way I found captivating. Highly recommended to anyone who loves the English language in all its diverse scope. Although the audience for this course is arguably American it is nonetheless relevant to all English speakers worldwide a nd Anne Curzan respects that diversity very well indeed. She also stimulates debate on many aspects of the language. I found it very enjoyable as well as educational.
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