John H McWhorter is an associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University. He earned his B.A. from Rutgers, his M.A. from New York University, and his Ph.D. in linguistics from Stanford. Professor McWhorter has taught the American Studies seminar "Language in America," a study of American linguistic history that considered Native American languages, immigrant languages, creole languages, and Black English -- their development, interactions, and preservation. He has also taught the seminar "Language Contact," which focused specifically on the mixture of language in North America, and studied the development of creoles, pidgins, koines, "vehicular" languages, and nonstandard dialects. The seminar considered perceived legitimacy of languages, and the standing of language mixtures in media and education.
Professor McWhorter is an author of more than twenty books including The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language, Losing the Race: Self Sabotage in Black America and Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English. In 2016 he published Words on the Move: Why English Won't - and Can't - Sit Still (Like, Literally), while in 2021 he published Nine Nasty Words and Woke Racism. He also writes a weekly column for The New York Times and hosts the language podcast Lexicon Valley. Students might be particularly interested in his article on how immigrants change languages in The Atlantic and an essay on policing the "N-word" in Time.