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

including “chillax” and “frenemy”

Word of Inuit origin are making their debut

And two-letter words: yum!

Schools cut foreign languages

Noam Chomsky’s thinks language acquisition is different for kids.

Maybe adult learners are trying too hard.

The original article in PLOS ONE

This is a pretty good intro to the ‘Less is More’ hypothesis, even though the authors find evidence against it.

Another good book treatment.
Google Books link

Two formative article for the ‘less is more’ hypothesis (PDF)
Johnson and Newport 1989
Newport 1990

Why learn a language? Well, people are more logical and less affected by emotional arguments in a foreign language

Or are they just more willing to push a guy off a bridge?

It can earn you more.

It can forestall the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

And the effect seems to hold even if you’re a later learner.

Duolingo is a way of learning a language.

What is metadata?

It’s not really well-defined.

We need more information about this.

Like, really.

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