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Speaking came thousands of years before writing. All writing that has developed since its invention can be traced back to two civilizations: Sumerian and Chinese. Matthew Winkler dissects the evolution of Sumerian cuneiform and explains the difference between writing those first symbols and simply drawing meaning.
For an entire series on the etymology of 26 English words, see Mysteries of Vernacular.
MIT researcher Deb Roy wanted to understand how his infant son learned language -- so he wired up his house with video cameras to catch every moment (with exceptions) of his son's life, then parsed 90,000 hours of home video to watch "gaaaa" slowly turn into "water." This astonishing, data-rich research has deep implications for how we learn.
All it takes is a simple S to make most English words plural. But it hasn't always worked that way (and there are, of course, exceptions). John McWhorter looks back to the good old days when English was newly split from German -- and books, names and eggs were beek, namen and eggru!
What is the difference between "a hearty welcome" and "a cordial reception"? In a brief, action-packed history of the English language, Kate Gardoqui explains why these semantically equal phrases evoke such different images.
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TED-Ed
Lesson Creator
New York, NY
05/16/2014 • 
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