Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Micro Mention "The Story of Human Language"

John McWhorter

How languages evolve, split, and combine over time is an interesting subject for me, so I really enjoyed Professor John McWhorter's course presented by the Great Courses, "The Story of Human Language."

If you pick up this course, McWhorter takes you down several unexpected twists and turns on how language functions and even changes with time. There is this odd conception that language degrades with time and becomes coarser and less refined. All of which, in my opinion, is just another symptom of overindulgence in nostalgic thinking, this erroneous belief that back in the past, there was some golden age that we've all just gotten away from. If only we all still wandered about speaking perfect Latin at each other, things would be better.

It wouldn't.

In any case, McWhorter helped me understand that language is a vital thing, a living thing that changes and reflects the people whose mouths—or hands, or whatever electronic assistance devices—speak it.

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