This year's Reith Lecturer is Jean Aitchison, a Professor of Language and Communication in the Faculty of English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Worcester College, Oxford.

In her third lecture, Professor Aitchison examines the predictable way in which the language web develops. Language has a biologically organised schedule with children everywhere following a similar pattern. Children learn to talk so readily because they instinctively know in advance what languages are like; the outline is pre-programmed and the network is built up in a pre-ordained sequence. Professor Aitchinson looks at how adults can help and sometimes slow down a child's progress.

Release date:

Available now

30 minutes

Last on

Tue 20 Feb 1996 09:00

Related topics

Featured in...

The secret world of Tudor crime

Tudor executioner

A glimpse into the turbulent Tudor underworld to mark Hilary Mantel's Reith Lectures.

Are these the greatest historical novels ever written?


Daisy Buchanan reviews some of the most popular historical novels of the past few years.