Do apes have accents?

A recent news story claims that chimps learn a “new language” when they move in with other chimps. What’s behind the story? And what exactly are our fellow primates capable of, language wise?

Linguist Daniel Midgley goes ape on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Em Burrows


Show notes

One Man’s Quest to Rid Wikipedia of Exactly One Grammatical Mistake
https://medium.com/backchannel/meet-the-ultimate-wikignome-10508842caad

Why Wikipedia’s grammar vigilante is wrong
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/05/why-wikipedias-grammar-vigilante-is-wrong

Language Log: Can 50,000 Wikipedia edits be wrong?
http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=17636

Language Log: More on the history of comprised of meaning “composed of”
http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=3182

Giraffedata’s manifesto is comprised entirely of misconceptions about how language works.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Giraffedata/comprised_of#Wikipedia_policy

That’s So Gay: Google Fixes Gay Slurs
http://americanlivewire.com/2015-01-28-thats-gay-google-fixes-gay-slurs/

Google Translate MEAT GRINDER turns gay into ‘faggot’, ‘poof’, ‘queen’
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/01/28/google_gay_translation_fail/

Google Fixes Homophobic “Bug” in its Translator
http://www.dailytech.com/Google+Fixes+Homophobic+Bug+in+its+Translator/article37108c.htm

Etymology of <i>camp</i>
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=camp&allowed_in_frame=0

CBBC: “Chimps develop Scottish accents”
http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/31161049

ABC Science: “Chimps have own ‘dialects’ but can learn others”
http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2015/02/06/4175466.htm?site=science&topic=latest

NBC: “Chimps Learn New Language When They Change Locale”
http://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/chimps-learn-new-language-when-they-change-locale-n300776

The actual paper
http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(14)01635-2

Potent Social Learning and Conformity Shape a Wild Primate’s Foraging Decisions
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/340/6131/483

Chimpanzee grunts mean more than you think
http://www.theverge.com/2015/2/6/7985327/chimpanzee-grunts-mean-more-than-you-think

LA Times: “Chimps learn each other’s grunts, but is it language?”
http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-is-human-language-chimp-grunt-20150204-story.html

ABC Science: Chimps ‘talk’ about favourite fruits, best trees
http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2015/01/20/4165321.htm

First example of whispering observed in non-human primates
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/first-example-of-whispering-observed-in-nonhuman-primates-8836601.html

Actual paper: Whisper-like behavior in a non-human primate
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/zoo.21099/abstract

Primate call gives clues to human speech origins
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-22067192

Rare primate’s vocal lip-smacks share features of human speech
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-04/cp-rpv040313.php

Gelada lip smacks and wobbles
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPtcNucxiMg

Terrible headline from ScienceAlert: “A wild-born orangutan has learned to communicate like a human”
http://www.sciencealert.com/a-wild-born-orangutan-has-learned-to-communicate-like-a-human

YouTube video of Tilda
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6kiA3KCf5k

Orangutans Plan Their Trips Like Humans, Tell Others Their Future Travel Routes
http://www.ibtimes.com/orangutans-plan-their-trips-humans-tell-others-their-future-travel-routes-1404478

<i>Mansplain</i> chosen as Macquarie Dictionary’s 2014 word of the year
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-05/mansplain-macquarie-dictionary-2014-word-of-year/6073620

Here’s the Big List (PDF):
https://www.macquariedictionary.com.au/media2/feature_documents/MacquarieWOTY_WordList_2014_2.pdf

“Linguists aren’t language nazis. We’re language hippies.”
http://www.slideshare.net/Jayelem/so-you-know-a-linguist

Ben Harris-Roxas ‏@ben_hr: This perfectly sums up the spill and the coverage of it for me
https://twitter.com/ben_hr/status/563580390942580736/photo/1


Show tunes

Find the tracks we play on the RTRFM webpage for this episode.

Image credit: http://www.reuniting.info/images/tam2.jpg