🎧 Lectures 20-22 of The Story of Human Language by John McWhorter

Listened to Lectures 20-22: The Story of Human Language by John McWhorterJohn McWhorter from The Great Courses: Linguistics

Lecture 20: Language Mixture—Words
The first language's 6,000 branches have not only diverged into dialects, but they have been constantly mixing with one another on all levels. The first of three lectures on language mixture looks at how this process applies to words.

Lecture 21: Language Mixture—Grammar
Languages also mix their grammars. For example, Yiddish is a dialect of German, but it has many grammatical features from Slavic languages like Polish. There are no languages without some signs of grammar mixture.

Lecture 22: Language Mixture—Language Areas
When unrelated or distantly related languages are spoken in the same area for long periods, they tend to become more grammatically similar because of widespread bilingualism.

Reply to Pasadena Busing Controversy: Sept. 14, 1970 by Roxanne Elhachem

Replied to Pasadena Busing Controversy: Sept. 14, 1970 by Roxanne ElhachemRoxanne Elhachem (ColoradoBoulevard.net)
The busing proposition in Pasadena brought mixed emotions for its citizens. Although many were happy about the social progression that was occurring in this town, it may have indirectly kept, if not increased, some of the segregation within the city. Private schools were not included in this new plan, and because of that, people who didn’t agree with the plan — and could afford it — sent their kids to affluent private schools. This lead to around 30 private schools (currently 53) being present in the city of Pasadena.Students arriving by school bus in early 70s (Photo – The U.S. National Archives).In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court declared racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional. In the 1970s and...

Thanks for highlighting this archival news footage. I’ve always wondered why it seemed like Pasadena had so many private schools given its relative size, though I do wonder how it compares to the rest of southern California on a private school per capita basis. I’d never considered that this may be one of the largest driving factors.

I’m curious what the numbers for the city’s public and private schools are? Perhaps a follow up with some graphs, charts, and further analysis would be worthwhile? I’m definitely curious.

In the meanwhile, the topic reminded me of this relatively recent segment of Jon Oliver’s show which focused on school segregation and which also featured Ronald Reagan:

🎧 Lectures 17-19 of The Story of Human Language by John McWhorter

Listened to Lectures 17-19: The Story of Human Language by John McWhorterJohn McWhorter from The Great Courses: Linguistics

Lecture 17: Dialects—The Standard as Token of the Past
When a dialect of a language is used widely in writing and literacy is high, the normal pace of change is artificially slowed, as people come to see "the language" as on the page and inviolable. This helps create diglossia.

Lecture 18: Dialects—Spoken Style, Written Style
We often see the written style of language as how it really "is" or "should be." But in fact, writing allows uses of language that are impossible when a language is only a spoken one.

Lecture 19: Dialects—The Fallacy of Blackboard Grammar
Understanding language change and how languages differ helps us see that what is often labeled "wrong" about people's speech is, in fact, a misanalysis.

Interesting to hear about the early “canonization” of English grammar by Robert Lowth and Lindley Murray.

🎧 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.

🎧 Lecture 14 of The Story of Human Language by John McWhorter

Listened to Lecture 14: The Story of Human Language by John McWhorter John McWhorter from The Great Courses: Linguistics

Lecture 14: Dialects—Subspecies of Species
The first of five lectures on dialects probes the nature of these "languages within languages." Dialects are variations on a common theme, rather than bastardizations of a "legitimate" standard variety.

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