Saturday, January 02, 2010

Linguistic Lullaby: I am listening to a Teaching Company tape entitled "The Story of Human Language." It is recorded by Dr. John McWhorter, a linguistic expert. To say he is brilliant does not do justice to his essence. If you have some free time and are interested I highly recommend it. I gathered from some online info about him that he is somewhat controversial in the African American community because of his Cosbyesque political views. Personally, I do not care where his politics lie. His lectures are a pleasure to hear. I was so impressed I sent the following email to the Manhattan Institute where he teaches:

Recently, I had the pleasant experience of viewing CD lectures from the Teaching Company entitled "The Story of Human Language" given by Dr. John McWhorter. I have not listened, admittedly, to it in its entirety but what I have listened to presents a stunning example of scholarly excellence. Dr. McWhorter's breadth of knowledge of language is astounding as is the silken expressive quality of his presentation. I am guilty of the crime of sometimes judging a person by the quality and the content of what they say and the grammatical preciseness of how they say it. Dr. McWhorter sets an example for all of us.

I looked Dr. McWhorter up and found some Wikipedia information on him. I must admit I was surprised that the Manhattan Institute where he teaches was characterized by it as a "conservative think tank." I will try not to hold that against him as I am an ardent Democrat and write opinion pieces from a moderately left wing point of view. Still, one should not, pigeonhole a person. If he is correct, well spoken and precise it should not matter where he sits on the political spectrum.

To me listening to Dr. McWhorter was like watching liquid silver poured into a glass. He is a fount of knowledge and I can only envy his brilliance and expressive linguistic abilities.

I hope one day our nation can reunite under the umbrella of intellectual achievement and recognize this country still holds its freedom of speech as one of its most important civil libertarian principles. Many have given their lives to defend a homeland that remains one of the freest on planet earth. I know this liberal is grateful for that!

Thanks to Dr. McWhorter for sharing his excellence with the Teaching Company who then makes it available to us.

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