(woman) In the few minutes that remain of today's class, I'd like to discuss next week's schedule with you. Because I'm presenting a paper at a conference in Detroit on Thursday, I won't be here for either Wednesday's or Friday's class. I will, however, be here for Monday's. Next Friday, a week from today, is the midterm exam, marking the halfway point in the semester. Professor Andrews has agreed to administer the exam. In place of the usual Wednesday class, I've arranged an optional review session. Since it is optional, attendance will not be taken; however, attending the class would be a good idea for those worried about the midterm. So, remember: optional class next Wednesday; midterm, Friday.
(woman) Welcome to the Four Winds Historical Farm, where traditions of the past are preserved for visitors like you. Today, our master thatchers will begin giving this barn behind me a sturdy thatched roof able to withstand heavy winds and last up to a hundred years. How do they do it? Well, in a nutshell, thatching involves covering the beams or rafters --- the wooden skeleton of a roof --- with reeds or straw. Our thatchers here have harvested their own natural materials for the job --- the bundles of water reeds you see lying over there beside the barn.
Thatching is certainly uncommon in the Untied States today. I guess that's why so many of you have come to see this demonstration. But it wasn't always that way. In the seventeenth century, the colonists here thatched their roofs with reeds and straw, just as they had done in England. After a while, though, they began to replace the thatch with wooden shingles because wood was so plentiful. And eventually, other roofing materials like stone, slate, and clay tiles came into use.
It's a real shame that most people today don't realize how strong and long lasting a thatched roof is. In Ireland, where thatching is still practiced, the roofs can survive winds of up to one hundred ten miles per hour. That's because straw and reeds are so flexible. They bend but don't break in the wind like other materials can. Another advantage is that the roofs keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. And then, of course, there's the roofs' longevity --- the average is sixty years, but they can last up to a hundred. With all these reasons to start thatching roofs again, wouldn't it be wonderful to see this disappearing craft return to popularity?
(MB) You'll recall that in last week's class I talked about how the sound made by most animals, though sometimes complex, are different from human language. Only in humans do these sounds represent objects and events. Keep in mind that most animals can only repeat their limited utterances over and over again, while humans can say things that have never been said before. Today I want to focus on human language and how it developed.
I doubt you'll be surprised when I say that the evolution of language was slow and laborious. There's some reliable evidence that language began with early humans a million and a half years ago. Through the study of the size and shape of brain fossils, scientists have determined that early human brains, like modern brains, had a left hemisphere slightly larger than the right hemisphere. We know that in modern humans, the left hemisphere's the seat of language. We also know that early human brains had a well-developed frontal section, known as Broca's area, which coordinates the muscles of the mouth and throat.
It's clear, then, that early humans had a speech apparatus. They could produce any sound that we can. What we don't know is whether early humans used what they had. Since scholars know virtually nothing about prehistoric speech patterns, all they can do is speculate about how language actually originated. Let me give you a brief summary of some of these theories.