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35

Artificial Languages

Lecture no. 35 from the course: The Story of Human Language

 Artificial Languages

Taught by Professor John McWhorter | 29 min | Categories: The Great Courses Plus Online Literature & Language Courses

There have been many attempts to create languages for use by the whole world. The most successful is Esperanto. Sign languages for the deaf are also artificial languages, though ones fully equipped with grammar, nuance, and dialects.

36 Lectures

1
Image of  What Is Language?
What Is Language?
0 of 28 min
2
Image of  When Language Began
When Language Began
0 of 30 min
3
Image of  How Language Changes—Sound Change
How Language Changes—Sound Change
0 of 30 min
4
Image of  How Language Changes—Building New Material
How Language Changes—Building New Material
0 of 30 min
5
Image of  How Language Changes—Meaning and Order
How Language Changes—Meaning and Order
0 of 31 min
6
Image of  How Language Changes—Many Directions
How Language Changes—Many Directions
0 of 29 min
7
Image of  How Language Changes—Modern English
How Language Changes—Modern English
0 of 30 min
8
Image of  Language Families—Indo-European
Language Families—Indo-European
0 of 30 min
9
Image of  Language Families—Tracing Indo-European
Language Families—Tracing Indo-European
0 of 30 min
10
Image of  Language Families—Diversity of Structures
Language Families—Diversity of Structures
0 of 29 min
11
Image of  Language Families—Clues to the Past
Language Families—Clues to the Past
0 of 30 min
12
Image of  The Case Against the World’s First Language
The Case Against the World’s First Language
0 of 30 min
13
Image of  The Case For the World’s First Language
The Case For the World’s First Language
0 of 29 min
14
Image of  Dialects—Subspecies of Species
Dialects—Subspecies of Species
0 of 30 min
15
Image of  Dialects—Where Do You Draw the Line?
Dialects—Where Do You Draw the Line?
0 of 30 min
16
Image of  Dialects—Two Tongues in One Mouth
Dialects—Two Tongues in One Mouth
0 of 30 min
17
Image of  Dialects—The Standard as Token of the Past
Dialects—The Standard as Token of the Past
0 of 30 min
18
Image of  Dialects—Spoken Style, Written Style
Dialects—Spoken Style, Written Style
0 of 30 min
19
Image of  Dialects—The Fallacy of Blackboard Grammar
Dialects—The Fallacy of Blackboard Grammar
0 of 29 min
20
Image of  Language Mixture—Words
Language Mixture—Words
0 of 29 min
21
Image of  Language Mixture—Grammar
Language Mixture—Grammar
0 of 29 min
22
Image of  Language Mixture—Language Areas
Language Mixture—Language Areas
0 of 29 min
23
Image of  Language Develops Beyond the Call of Duty
Language Develops Beyond the Call of Duty
0 of 30 min
24
Image of  Language Interrupted
Language Interrupted
0 of 29 min
25
Image of  A New Perspective on the Story of English
A New Perspective on the Story of English
0 of 30 min
26
Image of  Does Culture Drive Language Change?
Does Culture Drive Language Change?
0 of 30 min
27
Image of  Language Starts Over—Pidgins
Language Starts Over—Pidgins
0 of 29 min
28
Image of  Language Starts Over—Creoles I
Language Starts Over—Creoles I
0 of 30 min
29
Image of  Language Starts Over—Creoles II
Language Starts Over—Creoles II
0 of 30 min
30
Image of  Language Starts Over—Signs of the New
Language Starts Over—Signs of the New
0 of 30 min
31
Image of  Language Starts Over—The Creole Continuum
Language Starts Over—The Creole Continuum
0 of 30 min
32
Image of  What Is Black English?
What Is Black English?
0 of 30 min
33
Image of  Language Death—The Problem
Language Death—The Problem
0 of 30 min
34
Image of  Language Death—Prognosis
Language Death—Prognosis
0 of 30 min
35
Image of  Artificial Languages
Artificial Languages
0 of 29 min
36
Image of  Finale—Master Class
Finale—Master Class
0 of 30 min

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g********m
August 1, 2017

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k********m
July 15, 2017
This lecture misrepresents sign languages as being artificial languages. Sign languages are natural languages that have come to exist where ever there have been significant numbers of Deaf individuals. The use of signs is mentioned as early as 360 B.C. in a quotation attributed to Socrates. The sign language that American Sign Language (ASL) is most closely related to is Old French Sign Language which was not created at the Parisian school for the Deaf. What was created there was a system of manually coded French that was based on the existing established sign language already in use by the Deaf community there. It would seem that, in fact, that sign languages did develop naturally among Deaf people. The sign for HOME shown in the lecture does not represent a kiss, it's origins are in two signs BED and EAT to indicate the place where you sleep and eat. Through a process of morphological and phonological change in which two signs became a compound and eventually assimilated into one sign arbitrary sign instead of two iconic signs they became the sign now used to uniquely mean HOME. Sign languages the world over differ in more than just in specific signs used. Their grammars can very as well. To say that they do not have the nuanced idiosyncrasies of old spoken languages is not accurate either. ASL has inflections of verbs to indicate case, temporal aspect, distributional aspect, and others that are very complex. Similarly when taking into account compounding, non-manual signals, and derivational process there are arguably far more lexical items than the quoted figure of 4,000. Numeral classifiers are discussed in a dated way and the term is not as popular among those who study sign languages. What is briefly referenced in lecture are more often called Depicting Verbs now and they are a necessary and productive part of ASL as well as many other sign languages.

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m********t
May 26, 2017

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