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2016 E. James Holland Symposium on American Values

2016 E. James Holland Symposium on American Values

Changing Language: #American Values with Distinguished Speaker Dr. John McWhorter

By the standards of those who study linguistics (the science of language), English is a relatively young member of an ancient family of languages designated as Indo-European. It is also a flexible communication tool, its lexicon, phonology, grammar and semantics constantly adapting, adding new words and structures as fast as the culture changes. Those variations go back in English history at least as far as the invading Germanic tribes, the Viking raiders and the Norman French conquerors. More words came into the English language through Great Britain’s spreading empire period, from India and Africa and the Western Hemisphere, and from the Industrial Age to the Information Age. Today, thanks to the advent of email and texting, the English language is changing faster than ever.  

Linguist and best-selling author Dr. John McWhorter will show how the continuing evolution of English is a natural process common to all languages and one we should embrace and appreciate.