Tuesday, August 05, 2014

John McWhorter: "Txtng is killing language. JK!!!"

I thought this fifteen-minute TED talk was great. I especially liked the bit about the earliest of the language scolds.

I agree with McWhorter's general argument, and have since reading Lewis Thomas (e.g.), but he made a number of points I hadn't thought of, and I liked the little tastes of professional linguistic discussion he added.

(h/t: Jack, via email)

7 comments:

Kevin Robbins said...

Fifteen minutes is a lot longer than my attention span. I can sit through a Weird Al video, tho. I'm sure you probably saw it, but it's worth repeat viewing.

Kevin Robbins said...

Apparently I've lost the ability to embed links. Damn red kryptonite!

Brendan Keefe said...

I know what you mean about attention span. And for me, it's not only the thought of FIFTEEN MINUTES. There's something about getting a video link, even one that's, say, two minutes long, that will often make me think of doing anything but clicking Play. I think a lot of it is due to the control video has over the viewer: if video is ever going to come close to appealing to me in the way text does, someone has to figure out a variable speed Skim function.

Anyway, I really liked the McWhorter text, and I hope you'll give the first couple of minutes of it a chance when you're in a more relaxed mood. (I've found having Freecell already open helps.)

And now, I will ... promise to come back to the vid you offered later?

Kevin Robbins said...

Glad I made time to watch it, Brendan. Now I want to see the McWhorter/Weird Al debate. They seem to have opposing views. I read Power of Babel some time ago and didn't recognize McWhorter's name at first. He talks about the evolution of language in that book.

I wasn't aware (because I'm old) that LOL had evolved and have never heard of haha and slash. I liked the bit at the end about the historical fears over the end of civilization because the kids can't conjugate or spell or whatnot. Reminds me of how the Hispanics were going to take over our language not so many years back.

Ocean said...

To K.R.: we have. You just haven't noticed yet. Jajajaja....

Brendan Keefe said...

LOL!

Kevin Robbins said...

Muy bueno pues, Ocean.

ShareThis