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What Language Is

Hour 2: What makes a language genuine and how is the accelerating rate of linguistic change affecting the ongoing debate over how we communicate? We’ll talk this hour with renowned linguist, author and educator John McWhorter whose new book is “What Language Is: And What It Isn’t and What It Could Be” (Gotham Books, 2011).

  • S. Madalek

    I missed most of it and must go to bed now but hope to get back to this or read the book. I got a kick out of the comments about anachronisms in modern films set in the past – nothing is worse!  Out of the mouth of a Jane Austen-like character comes, “Gaw, like, I know!”.  
    Also, his explanation of the use of “Be” was truly inspired.  
    I do agree with his point on the urbanization/hip-hopping of English;  a friend’s daughters who are home-schooled and very isolated have intonations straight out of Queen Latifah’s mouth!  It is hilarious to hear these little white Texas girls sounding like my friends from high school or someone out of a Spike Lee film – one of them even has the head swish.  

  • Adrienne

    Great program last night. I really enjoyed it.

  • Krys Boyd

    Thanks, Adrienne.  McWhorter is fascinating every time!

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