Everyone knows it’s a good idea to get kids to learn a foreign language.

But lots of Australian kids already speak a foreign language — at home. Yet these ‘mother tongues’ are losing ground to English. How do we encourage the minority languages in our midst?

Linguist Daniel Midgley investigates on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Ronan Lane


We’re talking about this article in Slate:
One Planet, One Language: How Realistic Is Science Fiction Linguistics?
http://www.slate.com/blogs/lexicon_valley/2014/09/08/one_planet_one_language_science_fiction_versus_earth_linguistic_diversity.html

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Show notes

Uyghur Linguist, Two Associates Sentenced After One Year Detention
http://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/language-08262014235118.html

The Language Log post
http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=14351

Uyghur is an official language of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uyghur_language

In Australia, about one in five people speak a language other than English at home.
http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Main+Features30April+2013#back9

But for schoolkids, it’s more like one in three.
Push to get more Aussie kids speaking their native language
http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/08/11/push-get-more-aussie-kids-speaking-their-native-language

How we kill languages and fail our cleverest children
http://theconversation.com/how-we-kill-languages-and-fail-our-cleverest-children-29137

How many are in your area? Find out using the SBS Census Explorer.
http://www.sbs.com.au/censusexplorer/

Some parents are concerned that bilingualism will hurt their child’s language skills. It doesn’t.
http://linguistlist.org/ask-ling/biling2.cfm

Bilingualism is pretty normal.
http://www.hanen.org/Helpful-Info/Articles/Bilingualism-in-Young-Children–Separating-Fact-fr.aspx

There are perhaps 20 healthy Aboriginal languages in Australia
http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/language/

Here they are, under “Strong Indigenous Languages”.
http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Previousproducts/1301.0Feature%20Article42009%E2%80%9310?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=1301.0&issue=2009%9610&num=&view=

Language nests can help
http://theconversation.com/language-nests-a-way-to-revive-indigenous-languages-at-risk-19824

They’re a way to facilitate trans-generational language transference.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_nest

Canada is using them
http://www.ece.gov.nt.ca/early-childhood-and-school-services/early-childhood/language-nests

New South Wales made a big push for them last year.
http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2013/10/28/culture-centre-aims-revive-wiradjuri-language

Economic success ‘drives language extinction’
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29037168

And that’s bad, because language diversity is very positive.
http://linguisticmystic.com/2012/06/21/why-is-linguistic-diversity-a-good-thing/

Ish: How A Suffix Became A Word
http://www.slate.com/blogs/lexicon_valley/2014/06/09/ish_how_a_suffix_became_an_independent_word_even_though_it_s_not_in_all.html

Here’s where it comes from
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=-ish

It’s getting degrammaticalised
http://linguistlist.org/pubs/reviews/get-review.cfm?subid=2639294

And all that ish
http://www.slate.com/blogs/lexicon_valley/2014/06/16/ish_and_shoot_as_euphemisms_not_as_versatile_as_the_swear_words_they_replace.html


Show tunes

‘Beautiful Mother’ by Dirty Projectors + Björk
from the album Mount Wittenburg Orca

‘Hold the Line’ by SBTRKT
from the album Transitions