Speaking In Tongues
The History of Language

Syncopated Productions
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5 videos in this collection

Let There Be Words
What precisely is language and how did humans acquire it? In an effort to answer these essential questions, this program journeys back to prehistoric times in search of languages origin.…
Constant Change
In this program, John McWhorter, author of The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language; Lyle Campbell, of the University of Utah; Brian Joseph, of The Ohio State University;…
Mother Tongues
This program travels the globe as it surveys a large portion of the worlds languages--25 percent of which are spoken by a mere 0.1 percent of the Earths population. Moving…
Civilization to Colonization
Writing is a relative latecomer to the history of language. This program tracks its emergence in Mesopotamia, China, and Mesoamerica and its down through the millennia via conquest--usually violent, sometimes…
Life and Death
It is predicted that within a century more than half of the worlds languages will become extinct, but as languages are lost, new ones emerge naturally or are constructed. In…

Related videos

Constant Change - The Spread of Language
Part of the Series: Speaking In Tongues
In this program, John McWhorter, author of The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language; Lyle Campbell, of the University of Utah; Brian Joseph, of The Ohio State University; and population geneticist Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza examine factors that contributed to the diversification and spread of languages, including early migration,…
Life and Death - Language Preservation
Part of the Series: Speaking In Tongues
It is predicted that within a century more than half of the worlds languages will become extinct, but as languages are lost, new ones emerge naturally or are constructed. In this program, Noam Chomsky; Esperantist Thomas Eccard; endangered languages researcher Peter Ladefoged, and others provide insights into the language life…
Civilization to Colonization - Written Language
Part of the Series: Speaking In Tongues
Writing is a relative latecomer to the history of language. This program tracks its emergence in Mesopotamia, China, and Mesoamerica and its down through the millennia via conquest--usually violent, sometimes benign--and colonization. The creation of creoles and pidgins resulting from the interaction of specific populations is also addressed, and speculation…
Mother Tongues - Global Languages
Part of the Series: Speaking In Tongues
This program travels the globe as it surveys a large portion of the worlds languages--25 percent of which are spoken by a mere 0.1 percent of the Earths population. Moving from Africa to Oceania and up to Asia and then west to Europe and across the ocean to the Americas,…
Let There Be Words - What is Language?
Part of the Series: Speaking In Tongues
What precisely is language and how did humans acquire it? In an effort to answer these essential questions, this program journeys back to prehistoric times in search of languages origin. But this is not a passive discussion, as Noam Chomsky; Brown Universitys Philip Lieberman; Johanna Nichols, of U.C. Berkeley; Stanford…
Maasai Migrants Series
The seven videos contained in this DVD were made in Tanzania between 2008 and 2010 by participants in the Maasai Migrants Field School, directed by Peter Biella of San Francisco State University's Program in Visual Anthropology. The primary purpose of the videos in the series is to educate urban and…
The Peace Patriots
An intimate portrait of American dissenters reflecting on their personal participation as engaged citizens in a time of war, The Peace Patriots chronicles the early protests against the U.S. invasion and military occupation of Iraq as seen through a diverse group of individuals, ranging in age from 14 to 75,…
Valley of the Heroes - Tibet's Shifting Cultural Landscape
"When no one listens, no one tells, and when no one tells, no one learns; and thus when the elders die, so do the traditions and language." -- Tibetan Proverb In many Tibetan communities, the loss of Tibetan language has reached a crisis level. An elder generation is passing away,…
The Chikukwa Project
This is a feel good story out of Africa. For more than 20 years, an amazing permaculture project has been working in Zimbabwe. Where once the people of the Chikukwa villages suffered hunger, malnutrition and high rates of disease, this community of seven thousand has turned its fortunes around. During…
A Life without Words
What would life be like without language? For too many deaf people raised in rural outposts, access to a sign-language community is denied and they are condemned to a life without words. Such injustice deserves our attention and is explored with care in this haunting story of two deaf siblings,…
Through the Negev
Told through interwoven first-person accounts by the few women and children who have made the journey by walking from Egypt to Israel, Through the Negev is a short documentary that encapsulates the refugees' struggle for home and safety. The documentary gives voice to women and children not often represented in…
Waiting for John - An Island Cult Worships American Materialism
An indigenous community worships American materialism on the tiny Pacific island Tanna. When the American military arrived during World War II, the islanders were amazed by America's fantastic cargo - planes, trucks, refrigerators, canned food. They thought such goods could only come from the Gods. Led by the mysterious prophet…