Brain Pickings

Words of the World: The Secret Stories of Words


What liberals and Nazis have in common, or how we define our time.

We love words. So we’re all over Words of the World — a fantastic collection of short videos about words, presented by experts from the University of Nottingham’s School of Modern Languages and Cultures.

From Nazi to avant-garde to Enlightenment, the portal explores the origin, meaning and evolution of various words, often of non-English origin but with international resonance, in a priceless piece of cultural storytelling that blends linguistics, history, politics, sociology and more.

For Goebbels, one of his main principles [of propaganda] was ‘lie until you believe your lie.’

The brainchild of British video journalist and filmmaker Brady Haran, some of his other work we raved about recently, Words of the World taps a diverse range of experts — from linguists to literary historians to political scholars to cultural anthropologists — to deliver compelling accounts of what we think we know but in fact only have a superficial understanding of.

The word ‘liberal’ gradually became a noun as well as an adjective. And this was due to a particular circumstance and that circumstance was the Spain of the 1810s.

Follow the Words of the World YouTube channel for the latest videos.

And to further indulge your love of words, don’t miss our selection of 5 must-read books for language lovers and word geeks.

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