Four Fun Videos That Explore the English Language

| March 11, 2014 | 3 Comments
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TED-Ed offers dozens of fascinating videos about all kinds of subjects that draw students in. (To learn more about how to use videos in the classroom, check out MindShift’s Teachers’ Ultimate Guide to Videos)

This series of videos, called Playing With Language explores issues of language and learning from different perspectives. Here are four from the collection.

1. Why is there a “b” in doubt?

Say the word “doubt” aloud. What is that “b” doing there? Does it have any purpose? Gina Cooke explains the long and winding history of “doubt” and why the spelling, though it seems random, is a wink to its storied past.

 

2. Making Sense of Spelling

What can spelling tell us about relationships between words? While spelling may sometimes seem random or unexpected, this lesson illuminates how peeling back the layers of spelling helps us understand the complex history and meaningful structure of words.

 

3. How did English evolve?

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.

 

4. Who invented writing?

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.

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