🎧 Lectures 15-16 of The Story of Human Language by John McWhorter

Listened to Lectures 15-16: The Story of Human Language by John McWhorterJohn McWhorter from The Great Courses: Linguistics

Lecture 15: Dialects—Where Do You Draw the Line?
Dialects of one language can be called languages simply because they are spoken in different countries, such as Swedish, Norwegian and Danish. The reverse is also true: The Chinese "dialects" are distinctly different languages.

Lecture 16: Dialects—Two Tongues in One Mouth
Diglossia is the sociological division of labor in many societies between two languages, with a "high" one used in formal contexts and a "low" one used in casual ones—as in High German and Swiss German in Switzerland.

🎧 Lectures 2 and 3 of The Story of Human Language by John McWhorter

Listened to The Story of Human Language by John McWhorterJohn McWhorter from The Great Courses: Linguistics

Lecture 2: When Language Began
We look at evidence that language is an innate ability of the human brain, an idea linked to Noam Chomsky. But many linguists and psychologists see language as one facet of cognition rather than as a separate ability.

Lecture 3: How Language Changes—Sound Change
The first of five lectures on language change examines how sounds evolve, exemplified by the Great Vowel Shift in English and the complex tone system in Chinese.

Interesting to hear him describe Chomsky first for his politics. I’ve always thought of him as a linguist first and only secondarily for his politics.

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