About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

02 December 2011

Fry's Planet Word

In an earlier post, I mentioned the series on languages by the BBC, Fry's Planet Word, presented by author, comedian and actor Stephen Fry. For a number of reasons, I only got round to finishing the series today - watching the last 3 (of 5) in one go.

It is an absolutely stunning series; with each episode giving something to think about. Starting with the very essence of language, and exploring the concept that language is what sets homo sapiens apart from other animals (in episode 1), to the cultural and societal differences that have an impact on language and expression (in episode 2).

Episode 3 focused on "bad language", with gems such as why swearing is actually a primal reaction, and off course a liberal sprinkling of "fuck" (especially considering that it is a BBC documentary). Bad language is not only about swearing, but also about innuendos, propaganda, slang and derogatory words. The discussion on propaganda, not only on the traditional Nazi propaganda topics; but also the more recent "collateral damage" was particularly illuminating.

Episode 4 was on writing - exploring the history of writing, and how writing has fundamentally changed humnan society. Writing off course leads to books, and my argument on digital vs physical books was expressed and debated so much more elequently! Episode 5 rounded up on a more personal view on literature, from Joyce to Tolkien to Shakespeare to Orwel and Woodhouse.

The series is an exploration of language; on its universality and its regional nuances. It is thought provoking and manages to have interviews with a wide variety of very interesting people. It is certainly a gem in the long line of great BBC documentaries.

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