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…
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…
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,…
Our Languages
Part of the Indians in Brazil series, Our Languages relates the historic repression of indigenous languages in Brazil. Many Indian languages were nearly lost thanks to missionaries and merchants - who rewarded Indians for learning Portuguese with status and material gifts - and government-sponsored schools that punished children for speaking…
The Amazon—Civilization Lost in the Jungle
Recent discoveries indicate the presence of massive ancient civilizations in the Amazon. Survey the evidence, starting with the Beni region's elaborate systems of mounds, causeways, and canals. Continue with the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon, noting wide areas of human-enriched soil, towns ringed by moats, geoglyphs, and pottery dating to 6000…
Bury The Spear!
Is peace possible? When we look at the history of mankind, questions arise about the inevitability of war and the impossibility of peace. These issues have never been more important to our future than they are in now in our globally-conscious, post-911 world. Made by the anthropologist/filmmaking team of Ivo…
Plastic Flowers Never Die
The war with Iraq was the largest mobilization of the Iranian population, achieved primarily by producing and promoting a culture of martyrdom based on religious themes found in Shi'a Islam. Martyrdom became state policy. Khomeini made it clear the war was a spiritual one that the people, and not a…
Yeah You Rite! - Language in New Orleans
The culture of New Orleans represents the mixing of many rich traditions: French, Spanish, African, Irish, Italian. At the heart of this unique culture lie its speechways, the subject of Yeah You Rite!, a close-up video profile of a single language community. New Orleans English has been influenced by the…
Those With Voice (Los Con Voz)
Those With Voice documents current efforts in the Southern Mexican states of Oaxaca and Chiapas to produce what social scientists have dubbed "indigenous media." A pacifist group of radio engineers travel days to man the transmitter cabin in the hills of Chiapas, providing the surrounding communities with information about current…
Tongues of Heaven - Saving Native Languages
This film explores the challenges facing young indigenous people as they struggle to learn the languages of their forebears before they go extinct. Set in Taiwan and Hawai'i, territories where languages of the Austronesian family are spoken, this experimental documentary focuses on the questions, desires and challenges of young indigenous…