Anyone who’s tried to learn a foreign language knows that it can take a lot of work.

Yet children seem to learn languages easily. How do they do it? And why should you try learning a language?

Linguist Daniel Midgley tells you on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Rhian Todhunter


Show notes

Scrabble is getting new words with the OSPD 5
http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/269875451.html

including “chillax” and “frenemy”
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/selfie-frenemy-playable-scrabble-article-1.1891614#AB1CTt8boj4WvvMO.97

Word of Inuit origin are making their debut
http://time.com/3080213/scrabble-dictionary-words-selfie-frenemy-bromance/

And two-letter words: yum!
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:Official_English_Scrabble_2-letter_words

Schools cut foreign languages
https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/24592129/schools-cut-foreign-languages/

Noam Chomsky’s thinks language acquisition is different for kids.
http://www.nancho.net/advisors/chomsky.html

Maybe adult learners are trying too hard.
http://www.livescience.com/46938-why-adults-struggle-with-new-languages.html

The original article in PLOS ONE
http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0101806

This is a pretty good intro to the ‘Less is More’ hypothesis, even though the authors find evidence against it.
http://www2.psychology.uiowa.edu/faculty/gupta/pdf/ludden-gupta.cogsci2000.pdf

Another good book treatment.
Google Books link

Two formative article for the ‘less is more’ hypothesis (PDF)
Johnson and Newport 1989 http://www.bcs.rochester.edu/people/newport/pdf/Johnson_NewportCogPsy89.pdf
Newport 1990
http://pages.pomona.edu/~rt004747/lgcs123read/Newport90.pdf

Why learn a language? Well, people are more logical and less affected by emotional arguments in a foreign language
http://www.thelocal.es/20140108/people-are-more-logical-in-a-second-language

Or are they just more willing to push a guy off a bridge?
http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21602192-when-moral-dilemmas-are-posed-foreign-language-people-become-more-coolly

It can earn you more.
http://lifehacker.com/how-much-money-learning-a-foreign-language-is-worth-1546400464

It can forestall the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111013121701.htm
http://www.livescience.com/12917-learning-language-bilingual-protects-alzheimers.html

And the effect seems to hold even if you’re a later learner.
http://www.livescience.com/46048-learning-new-language-brain.html

Duolingo is a way of learning a language.
www.duolingo.com

What is metadata?
http://www.zdnet.com/au/metadata-what-we-know-and-who-wants-it-7000032368/

It’s not really well-defined.
http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/what-is-metadata-and-should-you-worry-if-yours-is-stored-by-law-20140806-100zae.html

We need more information about this.
http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2014/08/we-dont-have-enough-data-about-metadata-plans/

Like, really.
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/06/you-want-my-metadata-george-brandis-get-a-warrant


Show tunes

‘Moreover’ by Wire
from the album Red Barked Tree

Bonus live version!

Here’s the GIF of how I looked, listening to Wire in the studio.

‘Weightless’ by Washed Out
from the album Paracosm