With so many dying languages in the world, it’s good to see new languages being born.

A brand new language has been discovered in the Northern Territory. It’s Light Warlpiri, and while it seems to combine English with the Australian language Warlpiri, it has grammatical rules that are entirely its own. What’s it like, and does it have a future?

Linguist Daniel Midgley gets into the mix on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Big news for this week’s show: A new Australian language invented by children. It’s not a pidgin. It’s not a creole. What is it? It’s a mixed language. What’s the difference?

So many questions! Why don’t you listen to the podcast, and follow the links on our Show Notes page. Then you’ll know all about it.

There’s a bit about linguistic forensics, and the upcoming ‘Dinner with Ben and Daniel’ to benefit RTRFM’s Radiothon. So exciting!

Oh, and one more thing — the day I feared has arrived. From doing so many shows with me, Ben has learned about as much about linguistics as I know. Check out his entirely accurate knowledge of the difference between pidgins and creoles. That’s fantastic, but also bad because I need him to ask the non-linguist questions (“So what’s a phoneme?” and so on). Then I give the answers. If he knows everything, what am I going to say? I’d better study harder and learn more.


Show notes

Forensic linguistics unmasks J.K. Rowling as author of well-reviewed novel
http://entertainment.time.com/2013/07/15/j-k-rowlings-secret-a-forensic-linguist-explains-how-he-figured-it-out/

And you can download JGAAP, the software used to unravel the mystery.
http://evllabs.com/jgaap/w/index.php/Main_Page#Downloads

Light Warlpiri: a new language spoken by under-35s in a remote community
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/16/science/linguist-finds-a-language-in-its-infancy.html?hp&_r=2&
http://www.smh.com.au/national/children-invent-new-language-in-remote-nt-community-20130716-2q1k6.html

Dr O’Shannessy’s paper (PDF)
http://www.linguisticsociety.org/files/archived-documents/Lg_J13_v89_O’Shannessy.pdf

The research goes back a ways. Here’s a 2005 paper in the AJL. (Paywall)
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07268600500110472#.Uejjyj6600N

Watch a video of the Monster Story in LW. (Warning: Contains monster.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4glr5gDon7g

Here’s a video of Professor Alan Dench discussing Light Warlpiri on television
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ejn4ARg_R7M

A bit about the Warlpiri language
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warlpiri_language

A bit about Australian Kriol
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Kriol_language


Show tunes

‘Photon’ by Pantha du Prince and the Bell Laboratory
from the album Elements of Light

‘New Seeds’ by Boards of Canada
from the album Tomorrow’s Harvest