The Great Courses: Linguistics
Books in series8
ORIGINAL
(4.4 based on 3197 ratings)
  • The Story of Human Language |  The Great Courses, John McWhorter

    The Story of Human Language

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, John McWhorter
    • Narrated By Professor John McWhorter
    Overall
    (1165)
    Performance
    (1056)
    Story
    (1040)

    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.

    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 Deep Reader (Earth)
  • Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage |  The Great Courses, John McWhorter

    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
    (282)
    Performance
    (260)
    Story
    (246)

    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.

    This course will turn you into a linguistics fan!
    Reviewed on November 15 2013 by Quaker (Philadelphia)
  • The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition |  The Great Courses, Seth Lerer

    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
    (168)
    Performance
    (146)
    Story
    (146)

    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.

    Good, But Could Be Better

    This course is very interesting, although it could be better. The first two parts of the book are excellent with a wealth of historical information ab..Show More »

    Reviewed on November 02 2014 by John (Chamblee, GA, United States)
  • Language A to Z |  The Great Courses, John McWhorter

    Language A to Z

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, John McWhorter
    • Narrated By Professor John McWhorter
    Overall
    (894)
    Performance
    (814)
    Story
    (793)

    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?

    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 |  The Great Courses

    Writing and Civilization: From Ancient Worlds to Modernity

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Marc Zender
    Overall
    (92)
    Performance
    (81)
    Story
    (80)

    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.

    A Spellbinding survey of writing systems

    It has happened more than once that I had to consider either buying the ‘Audible’ audio version of a ‘Great Courses’ course or the downloadable video ..Show More »

    Reviewed on July 10 2014 by Jacobus (Johannesburg, South Africa)
  • Language and Society: What Your Speech Says About You |  The Great Courses

    Language and Society: What Your Speech Says About You

    • ORIGINAL (11 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Valerie Fridland
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (55)

    In these 24 thought-provoking lectures, you'll investigate how social differences based on factors such as region, class, ethnicity, occupation, gender, and age are inseparable from language differences. Further, you'll explore how these linguistic differences arise, and how they both reflect and generate our social systems.

    Like nails on a chalkboard

    Yes but not if Mrs Fridland narrates it. One of the other reviewers pointed out how annoying her voice is and I have to agree. It's shrill, weirdly ch..Show More »

    Reviewed on April 08 2015 by Amazon Customer (Phoenix, AZ USA)
  • Building a Better Vocabulary |  The Great Courses

    Building a Better Vocabulary

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Kevin Flanigan
    Overall
    (488)
    Performance
    (420)
    Story
    (400)

    Building a Better Vocabulary offers an intriguing look at the nuts and bolts of English, teaches you the etymology and morphology - or the history and structure - of words, and delves into the cognitive science behind committing new words to long-term memory. By the end of the 36 enjoyable lectures, you will have a practical framework for continuing to build your vocabulary by discovering new words and fully mastering the nuances of familiar ones.

    Simply amazing. Also, bad reviews can be explained.
    Reviewed on September 29 2015 by Christie ()
  • English in America: A Linguistic History |  The Great Courses

    English in America: A Linguistic History

    • ORIGINAL (5 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Natalie Schilling
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (39)

    Think about this: How would you address a group of two or more people? Would you say: "you", "you all", "yous", "you lot", "y'all", "you guys", "you'uns", "yinz", or something else? Would that change depending on whom you were talking to or where you were? Your answers can provide revealing insights into who you are, where you grew up or live now, and your social, economic, and educational background. Welcome to the enthralling world of linguistics.

    More like a book than lectures

    Probably not. It did have some very interesting parts, but I agree with another reviewer that it got too political. Even though I don't necessarily di..Show More »

    Reviewed on May 11 2016 by LadyLindi (AZ, USA)