Episode 4: John McWhorter

I recently started learning French, and the process has made one thing clear to me: There’s a lot I don’t understand about how languages work. So, I turned to John McWhorter, a linguist who has dedicated his career to demystifying the roughly 7,000 languages spoken around the world. When he isn’t busy writing books, John is a professor at Columbia University, host of his own podcast, and frequent lecturer for Great Courses. He helped me understand why English is so irregular, what the ideal language would look like, why all dialects are created equal, and more. Show notes: John’s books: Books by John McWhorter (Author of Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue) (goodreads.com) Lexicon Valley: Lexicon Valley with John McWhorter. (slate.com) John’s Great Courses: John McWhorter (thegreatcourses.com) Pronoun Trouble from Looney Tunes: Rabbit Seasoning - Pronoun Problem - YouTube Muldoon the Bassoon from A Child’s Introduction to the Orchestra: https://youtu.be/C_ipa4JzNNc?t=545

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What do you do when you can’t solve a problem? I like to talk to smart people who can help me understand the subject better. I call this process “getting unconfused”—and I think it is one of the best ways to learn something new. In my new podcast, I try to get unconfused about some of the things that fascinate me. Join me on my learning journey as I talk to brilliant guests about Alzheimer’s disease, marijuana, plant-based meat, the evolution of language, and more.