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.”

Why do we call an actor a ‘ham’?

More on Hamish McCullogh
Google Books link


Macleans: Sah-ry, eh? We’re 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

Wikipedia: List of whistled languages

Silbo: Welcome to La Gomera!

This page shows one way of representing Silbo.

You can learn Silbo on Busuu. to the rescue of….the Silbo Gomero

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

Words of seduction: Akha, in which they whistle with leaves

New Yorker: The Whistled Language of Northern Turkey

NPR: Up In Northeastern Turkey, The Whistles Of A Secret Language

ScienceNews: Whistled language uses both sides of the brain

Ars Technica: 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)

The Big Apple: Cuckservative

Salon: The GOP crack-up continues: The raging civil war over the disgusting “cuckservative” slur“cuckservative”_slur/

Salon: The secret history of “cuckservative”: The fetish that became a right-wing rallying cry

WaPo: ‘Cuckservative’ — the conservative insult of the month, explained

Wikipedia: Alleged coded references to Bacon’s authorship

@talkrtr you and Ben need these in your life! Love your program 😊✌️👌

— Caitlyn Weber (@CaitlynWeber1) August 13, 2015

More on collective nouns

Show tunes

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

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