The Human Language (PBS, 9-10 p.m.): It's something we do constantly, yet in many ways it remains the most mysterious of actions: talking. Princeton psychologist and linguist George Miller - a consultant for this series - puts it this way: ``People know language, but they don't know about it.''
Why do words get put together the way they do? What exactly is a word, anyway? (Linguists, the series explains, have trouble defining it.)
In response to such questions, this three-part weekly series taps the expertise not just of renowned experts like Noam Chomsky, but also comedians George Carlin and Sid Caesar. Some 50 specialists are heard from on such topics as the universal grammar common to totally different languages. The production uses fast-moving graphics, snippets of comedy, and unusual photography.
The opening program, ``Discovering the Human Language: Colorless Green Ideas,'' asks and tries to answer questions like how people know what to say next, and why sentences are fundamentally the same in the world's 5,000 or so languages.
Parts 2 and 3 air Feb. 17 and 24.
On Values: Talking With Peggy Noonan (PBS, 10-11 p.m.): The word ``values'' is more than a political buzzword to most people, as shown in this three-part weekly miniseries about the role of faith, family, and freedom in American society today.
The host is author Peggy Noonan, who became visible in political circles during the 1980s as a speechwriter for former Presidents Reagan and Bush. In these programs she offers her own comments and also interviews people active in each of the fields covered.
In Part 1, ``Faith,'' Noonan talks with the Rev. John Neuhaus, director of the Center on Religion and Society; Michael Lerner, editor of the liberal Jewish magazine Tikkun; and journalist and commentator Bill Moyers, who this month begins providing regular analysis on ``NBC Nightly News.''
Part 2 airs Feb. 17 and Part 3 on Feb. 24.
Please check local listings for these programs.