Professor John McWhorter, Ph.D.

Professor John McWhorter
  • Columbia University
  • Stanford University
Far from being a language in decline, we have reason to believe that English, with all its beauty and quirks and illogicities, will be carried far into the future.
Dr. John McWhorter is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He previously was Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. He earned his B.A. from Rutgers University, his M.A. from New York University, and his Ph.D. in Linguistics from Stanford University. Professor McWhorter specializes in language change and language contact. He is the author of The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language; The Word on the Street, a book on dialects and Black English; and Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music in America and Why We Should, Like, Care. A Contributing Editor at The New Republic, he has also been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Time, and The New Yorker. Frequently sought after by the media, Professor McWhorter has appeared on Dateline NBC, Politically Incorrect, Talk of the Nation, Today, Good Morning America, The Jim Lehrer NewsHour, Up with Chris Hayes, and Fresh Air.
Testimonials

"Dr. McWhorter is one of the best lecturers I have seen or heard He makes a subject that I have no previous experience with come alive."

 

"Wow! Great professor. What a great panorama he paints. He sweeps you right through the entire history of humankind in a very illuminating and understandable journey."

 

"Dr. Mcwhorter caught my interest and attention on the first lecture and never lost it. His depth of knowledge and charming style of presentation made me look forward to listening to more."

40 Courses and Sets

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40 Courses and Sets

  1. (Set) Understanding Linguistics: The Science of Language & History of the English Language, 2nd Edition  Set

    (Set) Understanding Linguistics: The Science of Language & History of the English Language, 2nd Edition

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $639.90 Starting at $639.90 $749.90 $639.90$749.90
    Learn more than you ever imagined about the most powerful language in our 21st-century world with this two-course set that reveals the fascinating inner workings of English. Start with Understanding Linguistics: The Science of Language, an exciting 36-lecture journey through the elements and purposes of language, from its fundamental building blocks to its uses as a nuanced social tool. Then round out your...
  2. (Set) History of the English Language & Story of Human Language  Set

    (Set) History of the English Language & Story of Human Language

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $639.90 Starting at $639.90 $749.90 $639.90$749.90
    Improve your understanding of the origins of the English language and the world's diversity of tongues. The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition explores a wealth of fascinating issues, including the effect of recent phenomena such as text messaging, hip hop, and e-mail on how English works. The Story of Human Language investigates the origins and evolutions of different languages, why there isn't a single...
  3. (Set)  Myths of Language Usage & Building Great Sentences Set

    (Set) Myths of Language Usage & Building Great Sentences

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $429.90 Starting at $429.90 $509.90 $429.90$509.90
  4. (Set) Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage & Story of Human Language  Set

    (Set) Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage & Story of Human Language

    John McWhorter
    Starting at $534.90 Starting at $534.90 $629.90 $534.90$629.90
    Discover why Professor John McWhorter is such an acclaimed linguist and one of our most popular professors with this engaging two-course set on the secrets of language. First, discover the true answers to questions about the English language that continue to perplex us all with Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage. Then, in The Story of Human Language, follow the dramatic story of how a single tongue...
  5. (Set) Story of Human Language & Building Great Sentences Set

    (Set) Story of Human Language & Building Great Sentences

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $534.90 Starting at $534.90 $629.90 $534.90$629.90
    Use the power of language to become a better writer with these two courses delivered by expert writers, speakers, and professors. First, in The Story of Human Language, chart the exciting development of human language from a single tongue to the estimated 6,000 languages in use around the world today. Then, in Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft, get unique insights into the nature of great...
  6. (Set) The Secret Life of Words: English Words and Their Origins & Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage   Set

    (Set) The Secret Life of Words: English Words and Their Origins & Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $329.90 Starting at $329.90 $629.90 $329.90$629.90
    Is English, as a language, in crisis? Hear the informed opinion of two prominent linguists in this two-course set that reveals the remarkable story behind everyday words. First, The Secret Life of Words: English Words and Their Origins is a delightfully informative survey of English, from its Germanic origins to the rise of globalization and cyber-communications. Then, Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage...
  7. (Set)  Language A to Z & History of the English Language Set

    (Set) Language A to Z & History of the English Language

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $289.90 Starting at $289.90 $289.90 $289.90$289.90
  8. (Set) Language A to Z & Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage  Set

    (Set) Language A to Z & Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage

    John McWhorter
    Starting at $219.90 Starting at $219.90 $219.90 $219.90$219.90
  9. (Set) Decoding the Secrets of Egyptian Hieroglyphs & The Story of Human Language Set

    (Set) Decoding the Secrets of Egyptian Hieroglyphs & The Story of Human Language

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $554.90 Starting at $554.90 $644.90 $554.90$644.90
    N/A
  10. (Set) Language and Society & Story of Human Language Set

    (Set) Language and Society & Story of Human Language

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $554.90 Starting at $554.90 $644.90 $554.90$644.90
    Explore the history and importance of language in this set. First, see how the words that you speak influence the way that you are perceived in society. Then, follow the amazing story of human language.
  11. (SET) Language and the Mind & Understanding Linguistics Set

    (SET) Language and the Mind & Understanding Linguistics

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $554.90 Starting at $554.90 $644.90 $554.90$644.90
    Approach the topic of language from a purely scientific perspective with this two-course set delivered by expert instructors at the top of their teaching game. First, in Language and the Mind, Dr. Spencer Kelly reveals the astonishing dimensions of the human brain through experiments that have only recently been able to tease out an understanding of language and how we learn. Then, investigate the elements and...
  12. (Set) Language Families of the World & Understanding Linguistics Set

    (Set) Language Families of the World & Understanding Linguistics

    John McWhorter
    Starting at $654.90 Starting at $654.90 $759.90 $654.90$759.90
    Look into language, with its seemingly infinite varieties, with this illuminating two-course featuring Professor John McWhorter. Language Families of the World explores the global family tree of language, while Understanding Linguistics: The Science of Language takes a revealing journey through the fascinating terrain of linguistics.
  13. (Set) Learning French & Understanding Linguistics Set

    (Set) Learning French & Understanding Linguistics

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $654.90 Starting at $654.90 $759.90 $654.90$759.90
    Understanding Linguistics: The Science of Language Take a practical, step-by-step approach to language with this two-course set. Start by exploring the fundamental structures and vocabulary of French with Learning French: A Rendezvous with French-Speaking Cultures. Then, take a revealing journey through the fascinating terrain of linguistics with Understanding Linguistics: The Science of Language.
  14. (Set) Building a Better Vocabulary & Language A to Z Set

    (Set) Building a Better Vocabulary & Language A to Z

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $419.90 Starting at $419.90 $419.90 $419.90$419.90

    Out of stock

    Experience the joy of the English language with this set. In Building a Better Vocabulary, explore dozens of new words and deepen your knowledge of familiar words. Then, in Language A to Z, join an acclaimed linguist on a journey through fascinating stories about our language.
  15. (Set) 36 Big Ideas & The Joy of Ancient History Set

    (Set) 36 Big Ideas & The Joy of Ancient History

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $399.90 Starting at $399.90 $399.90 $399.90$399.90
    Learn something new and exciting with this set of collections courses. Begin by exploring 36 ideas – philosophy, science and more – that have changed the face of civilization. Then, dive into ancient history and hopscotch around the world and across time to experience the fascinating variety of what the past has to offer.
  16. (SET) Language and the Mind & Language Families of the World Set

    (SET) Language and the Mind & Language Families of the World

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $569.90 Starting at $569.90 $654.90 $569.90$654.90
    Discover fascinating new insights into how language works with this two-course set that takes a neurological and linguistic perspective on communication. First, in Language and the Mind, Dr. Spencer Kelly reveals the astonishing dimensions of the human brain through experiments that have only recently been able to tease out an understanding of language and how we learn. Then, in Language Families of the World,...
  17. (Set) English in America & Story of Human Language  Set

    (Set) English in America & Story of Human Language

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $289.90 Starting at $289.90 $574.90 $289.90$574.90
    This two-course set reveals fascinating insights into our language—and the phenomenon of language itself. Start with English in America: A Linguistic History to witness the evolution of dialects in America into American English. Then The Story of Human Language uncovers the millennia-long saga of speech.
  18. (Set) Great Ideas of Philosophy & 36 Big Ideas Set

    (Set) Great Ideas of Philosophy & 36 Big Ideas

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $499.90 Starting at $499.90 $499.90 $499.90$499.90

    Out of stock

  19. (SET) Language and the Mind & Story of Human Language Set

    (SET) Language and the Mind & Story of Human Language

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $554.90 Starting at $554.90 $644.90 $554.90$644.90
    In this two-course set, discover how neuroscientists and linguists alike think about and study human language. In Language and the Mind, Dr. Spencer Kelly reveals the astonishing dimensions of the human brain through experiments that have only recently been able to tease out an understanding of language and how we learn. Then, in Dr. John McWhorter’s Story of Human Language, learn how a single tongue spoken...
  20. (Set) Language Families of the World & Story of Human Language Set

    (Set) Language Families of the World & Story of Human Language

    John McWhorter
    Starting at $654.90 Starting at $654.90 $759.90 $654.90$759.90
    Discover when humans first acquired language through this expansive two-course set featuring Professor John McWhorter. Chart the history and evolution of language across the globe with Language Families of the World. Then, trace language from a single tongue spoken some 300,000 years ago to the estimated 7,000 languages spoken today with Story of Human Language.