Human language isn’t all about speech — some communication happens by whistling.

Whistle languages are found around the world, and they give us a chance to learn about language and the brain. How do they work? And why are they dying out?

Linguist Daniel Midgley puts his lips together and blows on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Kylie Sturgess


Show notes

From the promo: “Tea’s ready; your sister will be here soon.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQf38Ybo1IY

Why do we call an actor a ‘ham’?
http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/2/messages/120.html
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=ham&allowed_in_frame=0

More on Hamish McCullogh
Google Books link

Cheesy
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=cheesy&searchmode=none
http://www.quora.com/What-is-the-history-behind-the-word-cheesy

Macleans: Sah-ry, eh? We’re in the midst of the Canadian Vowel Shift
http://www.macleans.ca/society/life/in-the-midst-of-the-canadian-vowel-shift/

CBC News: ‘Milk’ versus ‘melk’: Have you noticed that the way we talk is changing? Linguists have
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/milk-versus-melk-have-you-noticed-that-the-way-we-talk-is-changing-linguists-have-1.3180597

Wikipedia: List of whistled languages
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whistled_language#List_of_whistled_languages

Silbo: Welcome to La Gomera!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtEovudxXVE

This page shows one way of representing Silbo.
http://silbo-gomero.com/silbohome.html

You can learn Silbo on Busuu.
https://www.busuu.com/silbo

busuu.com to the rescue of….the Silbo Gomero
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqdAnGDMU2k

Unesco: Whistled language of the island of La Gomera (Canary Islands), the Silbo Gomero

Words of seduction: Akha, in which they whistle with leaves
http://www.lemondesiffle.free.fr/presentation_eng/temoignages.htm

New Yorker: The Whistled Language of Northern Turkey
http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/the-whistled-language-of-northern-turkey

NPR: Up In Northeastern Turkey, The Whistles Of A Secret Language
http://www.npr.org/2015/08/20/433257743/up-in-northeastern-turkey-the-whistles-of-a-secret-language

ScienceNews: Whistled language uses both sides of the brain
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/whistled-language-uses-both-sides-brain

Ars Technica: The curious case of whistled languages and their lack of left-brain dominance
http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/08/the-curious-case-of-whistled-languages-and-their-lack-of-left-brain-dominance/

PRI: A language based on whistling uses a different part of the brain than spoken communication (+ video)
http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-08-19/language-based-whistling-uses-different-part-brain-spoken-communication

The Big Apple: Cuckservative
http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/cuckservative/

Salon: The GOP crack-up continues: The raging civil war over the disgusting “cuckservative” slur
http://www.salon.com/2015/08/03/the_gop_crack_up_continues_the_raging_civil_war_over_the_disgusting_“cuckservative”_slur/

Salon: The secret history of “cuckservative”: The fetish that became a right-wing rallying cry
http://www.salon.com/2015/08/09/the_secret_history_of_cuckservative_the_fetish_that_became_a_right_wing_rallying_cry/

WaPo: ‘Cuckservative’ — the conservative insult of the month, explained
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/07/29/cuckservative-the-conservative-insult-of-the-month-explained/

Wikipedia: Alleged coded references to Bacon’s authorship
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baconian_theory_of_Shakespeare_authorship#Alleged_coded_references_to_Bacon.27s_authorship

@talkrtr you and Ben need these in your life! Love your program 😊✌️👌 pic.twitter.com/phKkzhhPLi

— Caitlyn Weber (@CaitlynWeber1) August 13, 2015

More on collective nouns
http://dictionary.reference.com/help/faq/language/g28.html


Show tunes

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

Image credit: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2015/08/17/23/2B72E81700000578-0-image-m-23_1439849246345.jpg