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We all use language every day of our lives. Language, regardless of the particular dialect spoken, is the tool we use to express our wants, our needs, and our feelings.Recently, many experts who study language have become convinced by an idea about this remarkable human trait that was, only a few decades ago, utterly revolutionary. These experts believe that the capacity for spoken language and the rules for its structure are not cultural but universal?a set of rules shared by humans in every culture and that even may be hardwired into our brains. Moreover, these rules apply regardless of which of the world's 6,000 languages are being spoken.But what are these rules? How do they work? And how can knowing them enhance your experience of the world?The 36 lectures of Understanding Linguistics: The Science of Language?taught by acclaimed linguist, author, and Professor John McWhorter from the Manhattan Institute?are your opportunity to take a revealing journey through the fascinating terrain of linguistics. You focus on the scientific aspects of human language that were left out of any classes you may have taken in English or a foreign language, and you emerge from your journey with a newfound appreciation of the mysterious machinery built into all of us?an appreciation likely to surface time and again in your everyday life.Gain Insights into How We Speak"When we talk about language, we talk about the way people talk," says Professor McWhorter. Just as linguistics opens windows into our past, it can also reveal more about the world we live in today.It was once possible, perhaps even likely, to go through daily life without encountering someone who spoke a different language. But in today's increasingly diverse world, where you can encounter different languages in different settings and where you might even speak multiple languages yourself, understanding how languages operate is increasingly important and can be extraordinarily rewarding.
1What Is Linguistics?
2The Sounds of Language—Consonants
3The Other Sounds—Vowels
4In the Head versus On the Lips
5How to Make a Word
6The Chomskyan Revolution
7Deep Structure and Surface Structure
8The On-Off Switches of Grammar
9Shades of Meaning and Semantic Roles
10From Sentence to Storytelling
11Language on Its Way to Becoming a New One
12Recovering Languages of the Past
13Where Grammar Comes From
14Language Change from Old English to Now
15What Is an Impossible Language?
16How Children Learn to Speak
17How We Learn Languages as Adults
18How You Talk and How They Talk
19How Class Defines Speech
20Speaking Differently, Changing the Language
21Language and Gender
22Languages Sharing the World—Bilingualism
23Languages Sharing a Sentence—Code-Switching
24The Rules of Conversation
25What Is This Thing Called Language?
26Speech as Action
27Uses of Talk from Culture to Culture
28Does Language Channel Thought? The Evidence
29Does Language Channel Thought? New Findings
30Is Language Going to the Dogs?
31Why Languages Are Never Perfect
32The Evolution of Writing
34Doing Linguistics—With a Head Start
35Doing Linguistics—From the Ground Up
36The Evolution of Language