This is the first lecture from the Modern Scholar course A History of the English Language taught by Professor Michael Drout.
In this lecture Professor Michael Drout focuses on language as a whole and how it develops and is learned. He points out the amazing ability that children have for speaking and comprehending a language they are immersed in until they reach about six years old without having to "learn" the language at all. While the origins of human language are endlessly debated, he does provide some interesting examples of how languages develop such as through mixing of people speaking different languages in the case of Hawaiian Creole, and through the isolation of people developing different languages over time in the case of the over 850 indigenous languages spoken in Papua New Guinea.
For more information on this course or to get it on audio download check out: A History of the English Language.