Professor Drout addresses the foundation of language and its connection to specific portions of the brain. The components of language are explained in easy-to-understand terms and the progression of the language from Germanic to Old, Middle, and Modern English is fully illustrated—including such revolutionary language upheavals as those brought about by the Norman Conquest and the Great Vowel Shift.
One of the most interesting aspects of the English language lies in its variants, such as the “soda” vs. “pop” debate and the place of African-American English in modern culture. These and other dialectual curiosities are looked at in detail and placed in the context of today’s world. Finally, Professor Drout examines the future not only of the English language, but of all the world’s languages.
Lecture 1 The Foundations of Language: Brain, Development, Acquisition
Lecture 2 Signs and Meanings: Semantics
Lecture 3 Sounds of Language: Phonetics
Lecture 4 Sound and Meaning: Phonology
Lecture 5 Sound Shifts and History
Lecture 6 The Rules: Syntax
Lecture 7 Words, Words, Words
Lecture 8 The History of the English Language
Lecture 9 From Germanic to Old English
Lecture 10 Borrowing and Influence: Romans, Celts, Danes (Latin, Celtic, Scandinavian)
Lecture 11 The Norman Conquest, the Influence of French, and the Development of Middle English
Lecture 12 To Modern English: The Great Vowel Shift
Lecture 13 You Say Soda, I Say Pop: Dialect, Variants, and the Development of American English
Lecture 14 A Global Language: The Present and Future of English