First Line Fridays, #ReadPOC2021, Human Language

I decided to listen to another audiobook for my #ReadPOC2021 challenge. The prompt for February will be „scientist“. I posted about this already, it was really hard to find an author and book that interest me. However, with some recommendations I eventually stumbled across this book on human language from The Great Courses:

The Story of Human Language (Audible Audio)
by John McWhorter

Here is what it‘s all about:

There are 6,000 languages in the world, in so much variety that many languages would leave English speakers wondering just how a human being could possibly learn and use them.

From the scope of the book / pdf supplement of the audio

I listened to the first two lectures already, What Is Language? and When Language Began. By the sound of it this seem to be actual lectures, held by the author. There are reactions from the audience and clapping. It makes for a different listening experience than listening to a professionally narrated book. The author, aka lecturer, is a proficient and coherent speaker. However, the experience is a bit more organic than usual.

The part about Chomsky in the second lecture was new to me and the notion that humans are somehow programmed to speak makes sense to me.

The basis of Chomsky’s linguistic theory lies in biolinguistics, the linguistic school that holds that the principles underpinning the structure of language are biologically preset in the human mind and hence genetically inherited.

Accordingly, Chomsky argues that language is a unique evolutionary development of the human species and distinguished from modes of communication used by any other animal species.

Wikipedia about Chomsky

So far, so interesting. We‘ll see if I‘ll manage to work my way through 36 lectures.

First Line Friday is a meme created by Hoarding Books. Feel free to head over there, have a look around, grab a book and post its first line in the comments there and in your blog.

What is this #ReadPOC2021 challenge, you ask? My original post is here. For an explanation and the general rules please go to the actual webpage of the challenge, hosted by Lonely Cryptid Media.