🎧 Lectures 4 and 5 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 4: How Language Changes—Building New Material
Language change is not just sound erosion and morphing, but the building of new words and constructions. This lecture shows how such developments lead to novel grammatical features.

Lecture 5: How Language Changes—Meaning and Order
The meaning of a word changes over time. Silly first meant "blessed" and acquired its current sense through a series of gradual steps. Word order also changes: In Old English, the verb usually came at the end of a sentence.

Some great examples of words changing over time:
eke name – nick name
(my) mine Ellie – Nellie and (my) mine Edward – Ned
brid (bird) / fowl
silly (blessed)
verb endings and conjugations
n’est verb pas in French in which pas means literally “step”