Fry's Planet Word
A five-part series in which Stephen Fry explores language, coming to understand how we learn it, write it and sometimes lose it, and why it defines us.
From the primitive linguistic techniques of our ancient ancestors to the multitude of diverse languages that exist today, Stephen Fry takes us on a fascinating journey through the history of language and speech. Being the only species capable of speech, we weave together words via the phonetic combination of a set number of vowels and consonants in order to communicate emotions, build civilisations, understand the world around us and record and document the history of our species. As this beautiful series seeks to demonstrate, without language we would not be the successful species we are today.
In this five-part series, Stephen Fry explores language in all its amazing complexity, variety and ingenuity. In his own distinctive way, he comes to understand how we learn it, write it, sometimes lose it, why it defines us to the very core of our being and can make us laugh, cry, tear our hair out and simply inspire us.
1. Babel: In this first episode, Stephen seeks to uncover the origins of human language and how and why we are the only species on the planet to have this gift.
2. Identity: What is it that defines us? Stephen argues that above all, it is the way we speak. Be it a national language, a regional dialect or even class variation - we interpret and define ourselves through our language.
3. Uses and Abuses: This programme looks at the ways language is used and abused. While not everyone approves of 'bad' language, Stephen learns that swearing plays an important part in human communication the world over.
4. Spreading the Word: In this programme, Stephen Fry explores 'the written word'. Writing is a great invention - making it possible to communicate across space and time. Without writing we would have no history and very little technology.