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 »is a linguistics course. It looks at how languages are born, change, merge, and die away. It dedicates a large chunk of its time on dialects and explains their relation to the "proper" version of their language. It is a very rich course, possibly one of the best value courses I've come across. Here's a list of the lectures in this course:
1 What Is Language? 2 When Language Began 3 How Language Changes—Sound Change 4 How Language Changes—Building New Material 5 How Language Changes—Meaning and Order 6 How Language Changes—Many Directions 7 How Language Changes—Modern English 8 Language Families—Indo-European 9 Language Families—Tracing Indo-European 10 Language Families—Diversity of Structures 11 Language Families—Clues to the Past 12 The Case Against the World’s First Language 13 The Case For the World’s First Language 14 Dialects—Subspecies of Species 15 Dialects—Where Do You Draw the Line? 16 Dialects—Two Tongues in One Mouth 17 Dialects—The Standard as Token of the Past 18 Dialects—Spoken Style, Written Style 19 Dialects—The Fallacy of Blackboard Grammar 20 Language Mixture—Words 21 Language Mixture—Grammar 22 Language Mixture—Language Areas 23 Language Develops Beyond the Call of Duty 24 Language Interrupted 25 A New Perspective on the Story of English 26 Does Culture Drive Language Change? 27 Language Starts Over—Pidgins 28 Language Starts Over—Creoles I 29 Language Starts Over—Creoles II 30 Language Starts Over—Signs of the New 31 Language Starts Over—The Creole Continuum 32 What Is Black English? 33 Language Death—The Problem 34 Language Death—Prognosis 35 Artificial Languages 36 Finale—Master Class
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 »iots that will never be able to use the language in any meaningful way? McWhorter addresses these ideas and many more. He shows how all of this new usage continues the path the language has been on for hundreds of years. How about all of those stilted rules about split infinitives or no prepositions at the end of sentences? These are examples of misguided 19th century ideas to make English more like Latin that became fashionable in our grammar.
With his breezy style and sometimes quirky asides, Professor McWhorter brings life into these lectures and creates an enjoyable listening experience.
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 » of the original material, and it was fun to be reminded of the things I had forgotten. It is a testament to the original course that I also remembered quite a lot! The new material at the end brings the history of English up to date by covering the ways in which new technologies are transforming the language. Professor Lerer presents the lectures at a perfect pace, uses great examples to illustrate abstract concepts, and clearly loves this material. His enthusiasm is infectious. Highly recommended as a way to learn not only the history of English but also some widely applicable principles of philology and linguistics.
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 » 24 short 15 minute mini-lectures from A-Z. He uses the alphabet to introduce the listener to some interesting facts about the mishmash of languages spoken in the world.
He starts the course at an enormous pace and peppers you with a lot of information. Initially I thought that I would opt out due to the pace against which he presents. I managed to stuck in there and was not disappointed. He knows a lot about languages.
From a South African perspective just the following: Xhosa is not pronounced Chosa as if it should start with a fricative, but with a clicking sound like that of the clicking languages that he describes. His pronunciation of the language called Afrikaans was also lacking. Despite that, he brings tremendous insight into languages and their structures. Highlights are "H for Hobbits" and "R for R-lessness"
If you want a fun-filled and highly informative course, this one is for you.