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The 5 Communication Secrets That Swept Obama to the Presidency [electronic resource]

What specific skills enabled a young state senator to become, in the space of four years, President of the United States? This program reveals a set of methods and attitudes at the core of successful communication. Presented by renowned public speaking coach Richard Greene, the video incorporates passages from many of President Obama's finest speeches-and uses these examples to explore tone of voice (varying volume, pace, pitch, and resonance); body language (improving eye contact, openness, and listening); verbal language (avoiding jargon and using sensory-specific words); message content (sharing feelings and heartfelt goals); and fluency in visual, auditory, and kinesthetic communication styles.
2009; 2008

American Sign Language Level 1 [electronic resource]: Numbers, Money, and More-American Sign Language

In this program viewers learn the signs for numbers, money, time, months, weather, transportation, directions, hobbies, and food. There are demonstrations throughout the video of how to formulate the signs, along with vocabulary sections, receptive skills practice, and question and answer sections that allow viewers to recap and assess their newly acquired knowledge.

Art and Design [electronic resource]: Insights Into the Visual Arts

Where do abstract painters and fashion designers find their muses? To what extent does the creative process differ between video artists, sculptors, and fine art embroiderers? How do illustrators and mixed media artists handle the business side of their work? Using capsule interviews with contemporary figures on the U.K. visual arts scene, this program draws viewers into the studio space and immerses them in the hands-on processes and limitless possibilities of art and design. Section one, "Artists and Ideas," explores sources of inspiration, the foundational importance of drawing, and a variety of functions for sketchbooks and journals. Section two, "Art Practice," considers contextual referencing in art, the development of ideas, artistic materials and techniques, the relative meri [...]
2010; 2009

The Battle for the Language of the Bible [electronic resource]

In late-medieval England, English quietly ousted French in law and government- but the move to make it God's language meant bloodshed. This program looks at the battle for a Bible in English, a struggle with huge impact on the language itself. Dramatic readings from successive English Bibles show the language's evolution. Location footage and original manuscripts illustrate key figures and events, such as John Wycliffe, the Lollards, and the first English Bible; William Langland's Piers Plowman; Henry V's official correspondence; the role of the Chancery or English civil service; William Caxton's printing press; William Tyndale's translation; and the King James Bible.
2006; 2003

The Big Picture [electronic resource]: Army Language School

In this classic episode of the U.S. Army's The Big Picture television series, the need for skilled linguists in a variety of languages is highlighted. This video from the National Archives and Records Administration shows the steps the U.S. Army is taking to keep in step with that need, showing the training and the sources of both teachers and students. Viewers will visit the classrooms of the school located at Monterey, California, that has provided many qualified linguists.
2007; 2011

The Big Picture [electronic resource]: Special Forces Advisor

Part of the U.S. Army's The Big Picture series, this fascinating installment follows United States Army officer Captain Paul Wineman as he trains in the military and language skills needed for his urgent task overseas. This classic film, from the National Archives and Records Administration, features footage of Captain Wineman through training at Fort Bragg's Special Warfare School, the Army Language School at Monterey in California, and on to Iran. It provides a unique glimpse into the way the Army trains men for special missions.
2008; 2011

Birth and Death [electronic resource]: Life Cycle of Language

It is predicted that within a century more than half of the world's languages will become extinct, but as languages are lost, new ones emerge naturally or are constructed. In this program, Noam Chomsky; Esperantist Thomas Eccard; endangered languages researcher Peter Ladefoged, who has since passed away; and others provide insights into the language life cycle. Topics include constructed languages such as Esperanto, language endangerment and preservation, and the role of globalization in language obsolescence. The experts also discuss current language trends and offer their opinions on which languages may emerge as front-runners of the future.

Birth of a Language [electronic resource]

Melvyn Bragg begins the story of English in Holland, finding ancestral echoes in the Frisian dialect. What follows is a chapter on survival as the English language weathers Viking and Norman invasions, vying with and eventually absorbing rival tongues. Lively settings such as village pubs and markets bring home the lasting influence of Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse, and Old French. The connection between Christianity, Latin, and an alphabet is explored, as well as the role of the language's first champion, King Alfred the Great. Nobel prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney reads from and discusses the first epic in English, Beowulf.
2006; 2003

Black on White [electronic resource]

Gullah-the African-influenced dialect of Georgia's Sea Islands-has undergone few changes since the first slave ships landed 300 years ago, and provides a clear window into the shaping of African-American English. This classic PBS program traces that story from the west coast of Africa through the American South, then to large northern cities in the 1920s. Studying the origins of West African pidgin English and creole speech-along with the tendency of 19th-century white Southerners to pick up speech habits from their black nursemaids-the program highlights the impact of WWI-era industrialization and the migration of jazz musicians to New York and Chicago.
2007; 1986

Chimp Talk [electronic resource]

In this program, Paul Hoffman, editor of Discover magazine, explores the controversial issue of language use by apes with primatologist Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh and Dr. Laura Ann Petitto. The results of Savage-Rumbaugh's 20-year study with chimpanzees reveal that they can use language with the astounding accuracy of a two-year-old human, which includes a rudimentary syntactical ability. However, Petitto's research indicates that humans have a cognitive predisposition for language lacking in chimps, which leads to the conclusion that although apes communicate by associating symbols with objects and actions, they do not have language abilities in the way that humans do. If the scientific community should eventually accept language use by apes, will the last scientific distinction betwee [...]
2006; 1996

Civilization to Colonization [electronic resource]: Language Takes Written Form

Writing is a relative latecomer to the history of language. This program tracks its emergence in Mesopotamia, China, and Mesoamerica and its spread down through the millennia via conquest-usually violent, sometimes benign-and colonization. The creation of creoles and pidgins resulting from the interaction of specific populations is also addressed, and speculation is made about the first things to be written down. Noam Chomsky; Peter Daniels, coeditor of The World's Writing Systems; the Manhattan Institute's John McWhorter; MIT's Michel DeGraff; and Salikoko Mufwene, of The University of Chicago, contribute.

Comedy [electronic resource]

Comedy is the complement of tragedy, and tragedy is one of the oldest forms of ritual in the Western world. However, while tragedy is linked to the sacred, comedy is often linked to the profane and sometimes even the sacrilegious. This program explores comedy, from Aristophanes and Cicero to the Christian ban on humor. The Feast of Fools and Carnival as Christian institutions that celebrate the profane are examined, along with the role of the Fool in the Renaissance court. The work of Rabelais as a Reformation-era text examines satire as a form of social critique and political tool that verges on the blasphemous. Literary figures such as Moliere and more recent icons, such as Charlie Chaplin, are discussed, along with societies like Japan that suppress laughter and consider it subversive.
2007; 1998

Constant Change [electronic resource]: Diversification and Spread of Language

In this program, John McWhorter, author of The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language; Lyle Campbell, of the University of Utah; Brian Joseph, of The Ohio State University; and population geneticist Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza examine factors that contributed to the diversification and spread of languages, including early migration, the introduction of agriculture, and genes. Language transfer from mother to child and from one population to the next is also investigated, along with the concept of dialects and commonalities among the world's more than 6,000 languages.

Conversation [electronic resource]: Exploring Preconceived Notions About Otherness

You're walking down the street and you see someone approaching. You glance at his or her face and see-what, exactly? Filmed in London, this program brings together more than two dozen total strangers to reveal the hidden judgments people make about those they don't know. Cleverly composed of nothing more than juxtaposed faces and unvarnished commentary by the film's subjects, Conversation creates an edgy meta-dialogue on how we tend to project our fears and desires onto our fellow humans. Illuminating and unsettling-and a guaranteed discussion-starter for courses in the areas of psychology, sociology, communications, and race/ethnicity/gender studies as viewers become aware of their own preconceived notions about otherness.
2009; 2008

Do You Speak American? [electronic resource]: Down South

This program follows Robert MacNeil down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to Appalachia, Louisiana Cajun country, and the Tex-Mex border to examine Southern dialects and accents and the influences of French and Spanish on American English. Linguist Walt Wolfram, columnist Molly Ivins, pop country singer Cody James, and others talk about regional differences in vernacular, the steady displacement of Southern coastal dialect by inland dialect, the accents of JFK and LBJ, and the Texas border town of El Cenizo, where Spanish is the official language. Recordings of Eudora Welty and Appalachian storyteller Ray Hicks are included, as well as WPA recordings from around 1940.

Do You Speak American? [electronic resource]: Out West

In this program, Robert MacNeil heads to California to take part in meaningful dialogues on Spanglish, Chicano, Ebonics, and "Surfer Dude" before going to Seattle to consider the implications of voice-activation technology. Linguist Carmen Fought, Stanford University's Cliff Nass, screenwriters Amy Heckerling and Winnie Holtzman, and others speak their minds about Spanish in America, why teens create their own language, gay self-empowerment by redefining discriminatory terms, the oo-fronting sound shift, and whether technology will reinforce or weaken racial/regional stereotypes. The teaching of standard English without devaluing or denigrating cultural linguistic differences is addressed.

Do You Speak American? [electronic resource]: Up North

In this program, Robert MacNeil canvasses the North to learn firsthand about linguistic dialect zones, the tension between prescriptivism and descriptivism, the impact of dialect on grapholect, the northern cities vowel shift, the roots of African-American English, minority dialects and linguistic profiling, biases against nonstandard speech, and the general perception of the U.S. Midland dialect as "normal American." Hip-hop street talk, IM slang, Pittsburghese, and Gullah and Geechee are sampled, and Bill Labov, the dean of American linguists; Jesse Sheidlower, American editor of the august OED; and New York magazine's John Simon are featured.

The Empire Strikes Back [electronic resource]

Will standard English, as it was known in the 20th century, disappear? Will English continue as the global tongue, or will its numerous varieties become, as offshoots of Latin did, a host of mutually unintelligible languages? This classic PBS program features new varieties of English that have transcended British and American influence. The program focuses on some of the most successful examples of "New English," including Jamaican creole, the English of India, and the pidgin of Melanesia, brought to Papua New Guinea by maritime trade. The program concludes with the possibility that the world's first global language will endure alongside its unrecognizable descendants.
2007; 1986

English Goes Underground [electronic resource]

With the Norman invasion, English became a third language in its own country, behind French and Latin. In this program, Melvyn Bragg examines the impact of Old French on the development of English. Manuscripts, tapestries, and dozens of curious etymologies help illustrate a tremendous influx of vocabulary pertaining to romance, chivalry, and, of course, food. The influence of Eleanor of Aquitaine's patronage is heard in works of poets and troubadours as the cult of courtly love flourished in England.
2006; 2003

English in America [electronic resource]

When Massasoit hailed the Plymouth settlers in their own language, they might have taken it for a sign that English would dominate the New World. Packed with surprising etymologies and intriguing stories, this program traces the dynamic relationship between English and America, exploring the linguistic influence of westward expansion, cowboy culture, slave culture, and encounters with the French and Spanish languages. Key works examined include The New England Primer and Webster's The American Spelling Book.
2006; 2003