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lecture by John McWhorter


Languages have always been emerging and disappearing. However, over the next hundred years we will witness a massive transformation in the world's linguistic landscape. Most of the world's languages will no longer be spoken, as the result of globalization and urbanization. The world's universal language will be English, despite that more people may be born to Mandarin and the Chinese may dominate the world's economy. Also, while it is natural to language to become ever more complex over time, spoken languages will tend to become easier to learn, as the result of widespread adult learning of languages in multiethnic contexts. The result will be a world where English is the lingua franca, while a few hundred other languages are used more locally, but are less grammatically elaborate than they once were when used casually.

John McWhorter teaches linguistics at Columbia University, as well as Western Civilization and music history. He specializes in language change and language contact, and is the author of The Missing Spanish Creoles, Language Simplicity and Complexity, and The Creole Debate. He has written extensively on issues related to linguistics, race, and other topics for for Time, The Atlantic, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, The New Republic and elsewhere, and is a New York Times columnist. For the general public he is the author of The Power of Babel, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue, The Language Hoax, Words on the Move, Talking Back, Talking Black, and most recently, Woke Racism, and hosts the Lexicon Valley language podcast.


Lecture: 18:00 - 19:15, afterwards you are kindly invited to join the reception.

Participation is free, Registration is compulsory (places are limited).

Course number:
Lectures and study days
Area of interest:
Art and Culture, Education and Pedagogy, Psychology, Language en Literature
Academic year:
2022 - 2023
Starting date:

Universiteit Antwerpen - Stadscampus

Gebouw R - R.002, Rodestraat 14, 2000 Antwerpen

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