Pointing at stuff is something every human understands.

A new study shows that for babies, pointing bridges the gap between communication and language. Could pointing have kickstarted language? And do any other animals do it?

Linguist Daniel Midgley gets to the point on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with James Hall


Show notes

Ukraine: no ‘the’.
http://time.com/12597/the-ukraine-or-ukraine/

But why not?
http://mentalfloss.com/article/32098/why-did-ukraine-become-just-ukraine

The name comes from “u” + “krai” = on the borderlands
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=Ukraine

Why do some country names have ‘the’?
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-18233844
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Name_of_Ukraine#.22Ukraine.22_versus_.22the_Ukraine.22

“Ukraine” is now more common than “the Ukraine” in books, in their various formulations.

What’s the difference between на and в, in Russian?
http://www.yearlyglot.com/differentiating-the-russian-prepositions-v-and-na/

Pointing is the first communicative gesture for human infants
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140224081117.htm

and it’s key for developing language.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273229710000377

Pointing in apes and toddlers
http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-gestures-human-speech-evolution-20130607,0,1312702.story#axzz2vRedHOEi

Wild chimps don’t point, but captive ones do.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2151757/

Elephants get pointing
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/10/science/elephants-get-the-point-of-pointing-study-shows.html?_r=1&

Ravens point, too.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111129112319.htm

They do it to focus the attention of others.
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21222-ravens-use-gestures-to-grab-each-others-attention.html#.UxxVQtwjFRw

What’s the tie-in? Ravens hunt co-operatively with each other…
http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_8388000/8388073.stm

…and with wolves.
http://aviannovice.hubpages.com/hub/The-Raven-and-the-Wolf-A-Study-in-Symbiosis

Ravens can also remember faces.
http://news.discovery.com/animals/ravens-remember-you-120419.htm

There won’t be a ‘guacapocalypse’.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/03/05/286197040/chipotle-says-theres-no-guacapocalypse-looming-after-all

pocalypse
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=-pocalypse


Show tunes

‘Point of View Point’ by Cornelius
from the single Point

‘Jerk Ribs (Mount Kimbie Remix)’ by Kelis
from the album Jerk Ribs [EP]