The evolution of language

Linguist John McWhorter discusses the evolution of modern language.
Linguist John McWhorter discusses the evolution of modern language at the Aspen Ideas Festival.
Dan Bayer | The Aspen Institute

Linguist John McWhorter takes an unusual stand with his six-year-old. He allows her to say things at home that most parents desperately try to avoid.

He explained that because certain curse words have made their way into everyday conversation and because those words refer to sex and excrement, that there is really no reason his daughter, or anyone else for that matter, shouldn't be allowed to use them.

However, there are words that alienate entire groups of people and those words, he said, he would never allow his daughter to say.

McWhorter explored this and other linguistic challenges at the Aspen Ideas Festival. He is an associate professor at Columbia University.

Use the audio player above to listen to the program.

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