This course will be a continuation of the Browsing course offered in the previous term, but essential material from the earlier course will be reviewed for the benefit of new class members. The science of linguistics studies the origin and evolution of languages, sound systems, writing systems, grammatical constructs, and how words acquire meaning. Two broad principles emerge: all languages are different in deliciously idiosyncratic ways, and all languages are the same at a deep level that reflects the structure of the human mind. This will not be an academic linguistics course, but instead a series of diverting encounters with topics chosen for their intrinsic interest and accessibility to the layman. Lectures will present excerpts from Great Courses and YouTube videos as well as citations from written works. Sources will include linguist John McWhorter, cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker, poets John Ciardi and Ogden Nash, stand-up entertainer George Carlin, and numerous lesser known contributors. In a larger sense, though, the source material is the 6000 fascinating languages of our world.
Please contact our office regarding availability of this course: