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History Unplugged Podcast

with Scott Rank

John McWhorter Describes Human Language's 20,000-Year Journey from Proto-Sumerian to Ebonics

00:00 54:06
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Language not only defines humans as a species, placing us head and shoulders above even the most proficient animal communicators, but it also beguiles us with its endless mysteries. How did different languages come to be? Why isn't there just a single language? How does a language change, and when it does, is that change indicative of decay or growth? How does a language become extinct?  

In today's rebroadcast, I speak with John McWhorter, a linguist from Columbia University. He addresses these and other issues, such as how a single tongue spoken 150,000 years ago has evolved into the estimated 6,000 languages used around the world today, everything from proto-Indo European to Ebonics English in the United States.
August 02, 2022
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Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to scottrankphd.com.
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