The Story of Human Language

The Story of Human Language

Part 1 of 3

DVD - 2005
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Professor McWhorter delivers lectures tracing the origins and history of language.
Publisher: Chantilly, VA : Teaching Co., [2005]
ISBN: 9781565859487
Branch Call Number: DVD 400 M258s pt.1
Characteristics: 2 videodiscs : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
Additional Contributors: Teaching Company


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Aug 03, 2018

An excellent series on how language really works, and where it languages and words come from. Everyone I showed this series to was hooked on it. After binge watching these lectures, my mother watched it again. This series focuses on spoken language, the way people actually speak it. A major focus is that spoken languages change continuously. This lecture series covers many languages from around the world, although the lecturer is only an expert at American English. After watching this series, I will never be worried that I am speaking improper English. Many of the rules for modern English that are taught in school, were set down 200 years ago by people who wanted English to never change from the English of their day. An excellent and entertaining lecture series, and an excellent lecturer.

Apr 09, 2017

This lecture series is very entertaining and quite educational most times. I stopped watching after a while because the lecturer makes so darn many provable unforced errors. I speak German fluently and am pretty competent in French, so I found it discouraging that Prof. McWhorter would make numerous silly errors that made it obvious to me that his claims to be knowledgeable of these languages was highly suspect. For example pronouncing the French word faisons (as in "we do") FAY-son. Eek! It is pronounced fuz-on, French 1a dude. I stopped believing his claims when he went on and on about how this African/French creole dropped the "ent" from the third person plural of verbs. Ouch! Dumb! Again, no French person EVER voices such "ent" verb endings (any six year old in Lyon would know that) and so much for his goofy subsequent claim. So, my faith in what I was learning started to erode as I realized this gentleman's mastery of detail (the hallmark of academic pursuit) was suspect. But he is entertaining. Just be careful how much you buy into.

Overall: B-, entertaining, often funny even slightly perverse, but technical errors annoying and undermine credibility.

Jul 15, 2016

This topic was not for me. It would probably be very interesting for someone already involved or interested in this topic.
The speaker does go in to detail about the origins or words and word sounds and how speech is expected to progress.

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