🎧 Lecture 25 of The Story of Human Language by John McWhorter

Listened to Lectures 25: The Story of Human Language by John McWhorterJohn McWhorter from The Great Courses: Linguistics

Lecture 25: A New Perspective on the Story of English
We trace English back to its earliest discernible roots in Proto-Indo-European and follow its fascinating development, including an ancient encounter with a language possibly related to Arabic and Hebrew.

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👓 Robert Lowth | Wikipedia

Read Robert Lowth (Wikipedia)
Robert Lowth FRS (/laʊð/; 27 November 1710 – 3 November 1787) was a Bishop of the Church of England, Oxford Professor of Poetry and the author of one of the most influential textbooks of English grammar.

An interesting character with an outsize influence on modern English grammar. Dave Harris is sure to appreciate this.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

Lowth seems to have been the first modern Bible scholar to notice or draw attention to the poetic structure of the Psalms and much of the prophetic literature of the Old Testament.  

October 16, 2018 at 10:55AM

Lowth’s grammar is the source of many of the prescriptive shibboleths that are studied in schools,  

October 16, 2018 at 10:56AM

His most famous contribution to the study of grammar may have been his tentative suggestion that sentences ending with a preposition—such as “what did you ask for?”—are inappropriate in formal writing.  

October 16, 2018 at 10:56AM

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🎧 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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👓 What English Would Sound Like If It Was Pronounced Phonetically | Open Culture

Read What English Would Sound Like If It Was Pronounced Phonetically (Open Culture)
The English language presents itself to students and non-native speakers as an almost cruelly capricious entity, its irregularities of spelling and conjugation impossible to explain without an advanced degree.
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