Language, in its seemingly infinite varieties, tells us who we are and where we come from. Many linguists believe that all of the worlds languages – over 7,000 currently – emerged from a single prehistoric source. While experts have not yet been able to reproduce this proto-language, most of the worlds current languages can be traced to various language families that have branched and divided, spreading across the globe with migrating humans and evolving over time.
The ability to communicate with the spoken word is so prevelant that we have yet to discover a civilization that does not speak. The fitful preservation of human remains throughout history has made tracing the ultimate origin of sophisticated human cultures difficult, but it is assumed that language is at least 300,000 years old. With so much time comes immense change – including the development of the written word. Theres no doubt that over centuries, numerous languages have been born, thrived, and died. So how did we get here, and how do we trace the many language branches back to the root?
In Language Families of the World, Professor John McWhorter of Columbia University takes you back through time and around the world, following the linguistic trails left by generations of humans that lead back to the beginnings of language. Utilizing historical theories and cutting-edge research, these 34 astonishing lectures will introduce you to the major language families of the world and their many offspring, including a variety of languages that are no longer spoken but provide vital links between past and present.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.
Narrator: John McWhorter
Duration: 15 hours 54 minutes
Released: 19 Jan 2002
Publisher: The Great Courses