Is there anything that all human languages have in common?

With all the diversity in the world’s languages, a true universal is hard to find. But new research has unearthed a principle involving the distances between words, and this discovery has revived a long-standing debate.

Linguist Daniel Midgley keeps it short and sweet on this episode of Talk the Talk.

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Promo with Kylie Sturgess

Show notes

Marmoset ‘conversations’ may give clues to evolution of human language

Related to PharaohKatt’s post: some of my favourite linguistic developments

Know Your Meme: Doge

Know Your Meme: Son, I Am Disappoint


Follow Dog Solutions. It funny

NatGeo: Bonobo “Baby Talk” Reveals Roots of Human Language

Guardian: Bonobos have mastered the art of babytalk, new research shows

Daily Mail: Bonobos speak like HUMAN BABIES: Apes use high-pitched ‘peeps’ just like infants learning to talk

Scientific American: Bonobo Peeps May Be Necessary Language Precursors

MIT Linguists Say Human Languages Might Be Predictable

The paper: Large-scale evidence of dependency length minimization in 37 languages

MIT Study Suggests a Universal Property of Language

All languages have evolved to have this in common

More about language universals (PDF)

Klittra wins the vote in Sweden as the new word for female masturbation. Don’t be surprised if English adopts it.

— Wordability (@WordabilityHugh) June 23, 2015

Jezebel: Add the Word ‘Klittra’ to Your Sexual Dictionary

Guardian: Sweden invents a word for girls’ genitals equivalent to ‘willy’ for boys

Swedish children’s TV dancing genitals cartoon sparks parental outcry

English remix of Swedish ‘genitals’ song released

Inevitable dance remix

Where does on the dole come from?

Show tunes

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

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