Monday, November 1, 2010

History of the English Language

lectures by Professor Seth Lerer
Chantilly, VA : Teaching Co., c1998.

From Indo-European to modern scientific language, this is an overview of the English language, with particular focus on England, the United States, and examples from literature that show not only the language itself, but attitudes about proper usage and grammar.

I cannot pretend to be an expert, but I enjoy popular works on language, and this audio lecture series was no exception. Professor Lerer presents 36 college-level lectures. His delivery is smooth without sounding stilted or droning. Some audience response is also audible, making you feel like you're really sitting in on a lecture. I found the lectures extremely accessible, and found little overlap between the information presented and the Intro to Linguistics class that I took in college several years ago. I especially enjoyed the way in which Prof. Lerer uses literature to back up his points, quoting from such works as The Canterbury Tales, Shakespeare, the King James Bible, and Moby Dick. In fact, I was a little surprised to find that, yet again, reading leads to more reading and my TBR list has grown as a result.

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