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The Great Courses: Linguistics
Books in series5
ORIGINAL
(4.4 based on 617 ratings)
  • The Story of Human Language

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, John McWhorter
    • Narrated By Professor John McWhorter
    Overall
    (176)
    Performance
    (167)
    Story
    (163)

    Language defines us as a species, placing humans head and shoulders above even the most proficient animal communicators. But it also beguiles us with its endless mysteries, allowing us to ponder why different languages emerged, why there isn't simply a single language, how languages change over time and whether that's good or bad, and how languages die out and become extinct.

    Saud says: "You'll Never Look at Languages the Same Way Again"
    You'll Never Look at Languages the Same Way Again

    This is a course that explained how languages are divided into multiple families, and how they evolve over time. It is as much a history course as it ..Show More »

    Reviewed on March 11 2014 by Saud (United States)
  • Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, John McWhorter
    • Narrated By Professor John McWhorter
    Overall
    (58)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (53)

    Conventional wisdom suggests English is going to the dogs, that bad grammar, slang, and illogical constructions signal a decline in standards of usage - to say nothing of the corruption wrought by email and text messages. But English is a complicated, marvelous language. Far from being a language in decline, English is the product of surprisingly varied linguistic forces, some of which have only recently come to light. And these forces continue to push English in exciting new directions.

    Tony says: "Easy Introduction to Linguistics"
    Easy Introduction to Linguistics

    How many times have you heard someone complain about the death of the English Language? Or that text message is creating a generation of uneducated id..Show More »

    Reviewed on July 18 2013 by Tony (san antonio, TX, United States)
  • The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, Seth Lerer
    • Narrated By Professor Seth Lerer
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (29)

    This course offers an overview of the English language that is literary, historical, cultural, political, and scientific in its scope and designed to give you greater insight into the written and spoken word.The lectures provide a thorough understanding of the history of the English language - from its origins as a dialect of the Germanic-speaking peoples through the literary and cultural documents of its 1,500-year span to the state of American speech today.

    Ken says: "Fascinating and informative"
    Fascinating and informative

    I listened to the first version of this course on cassette tapes way back in the day and found it truly fascinating. The second version contains much..Show More »

    Reviewed on September 24 2013 by Ken (Millbrook, New York, United States)
  • Language A to Z

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, John McWhorter
    • Narrated By Professor John McWhorter
    Overall
    (335)
    Performance
    (301)
    Story
    (294)

    Linguistics, the study of language, has a reputation for being complex and inaccessible. But here's a secret: There's a lot that's quirky and intriguing about how human language works-and much of it is downright fun to learn about. But with so many potential avenues of exploration, it can often seem daunting to try to understand it. Where does one even start?

    Jacobus says: "A genious Miscelany of linguistic topics"
    A genious Miscelany of linguistic topics

    Prof. John McWhorter, linguist and English lecturer at the University of Columbia fires off like a rocket bringing linguistics to the listener through..Show More »

    Reviewed on May 06 2014 by Jacobus (Johannesburg, South Africa)
  • Writing and Civilization: From Ancient Worlds to Modernity

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Marc Zender
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    At just over 5,000 years old, writing is actually a relatively recent invention. It has become so central to the way we communicate and live, however, that it often seems as if writing has always existed. But the question remains: Who invented writing, and why?In these 24 fascinating lectures, you'll trace the remarkable saga of the invention and evolution of "visible speech," from its earliest origins to its future in the digital age.

    Stacey says: "Loved it!"
    Loved it!

    Definitely in the top 20.

    Reviewed on January 20 2014 by Stacey (Albany, NY, United States)