Crash Course Linguistics

I have mentioned the Crash Course Youtube channel a few times. I knew they were considering (or had been asked by many people to make) a course in linguistics. I had put it out of my mind until another blog mentioned it.

Here it is, now complete at 16 episodes. It covers most of the things most of the ideas that underpin what I write about here, with the bonus of audio, video and actual organisation of ideas rather than random thoughts.


What part don’t you understand?

In August 2015, when I went to Korea for the second time, my working visa was delayed, so I had to do the ‘visa run’ to Fukuoka, Japan. While I was wandering around a suburb of that city, I saw a modern building devoted to the study and performance of traditional Noh theatre.  I thought that their slogan could be “What part of Noh don’t you understand?”. Unfortunately, on searching the internet, I found that Pat Byrnes, a cartoonist for the New Yorker magazine, had beaten me to it. I thought I mentioned this in my blog post of the time, but apparently not. Certainly I mentioned it on Facebook.

The reason I’m mentioning it now is that a few days ago I was watching some of the Crash Course series on the history of theatre, one of which is about Noh. I’ve written before about the variable quality of their autosubtitles — usually perfect, but sometimes, inexplicably, very wrong. Maybe the fault is Youtube’s, not Crash Course’s, but the same principle applies Continue reading

The Union enema

Crash Course is an excellent series of educational videos on Youtube. The originators and hosts of the first videos are the author John Green (who did the humanities-based series) and his brother Hank (who did the sciency ones). Later series have different hosts and cover a wide range of topics.

I recently discovered the series on mythology, hosted by Mike Rugnetta. I watched what was available, then have watched the last few as they have been posted. The latest video has a problem with the sound quality (one of the rare glitches in an otherwise well-produced series, and which about a quarter of the commenters haven’t commented on), so I turned the subtitles on. They are obviously auto-generated and not checked by a human (at least for this video – the next one I watched, in another series, was perfect). Among other things, there are no capital letters or punctuation. There’s a lot else, but I’ll focus on three. Continue reading