Why do human languages resemble each other?

Is it coincidence, or do our brains come hard-wired with a language? A new experiment suggests another possibility: humans adapt language in ways that make it easier for human brains to process.

Linguist Daniel Midgley makes it clearer on this episode of Talk the Talk.

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Show notes

Julia Gillard’s speech prompts a redefinition of ‘misogyny’.

English used to have a case system, until sound change made everything sound the same

Details of the experiment

Participants used case for the made-up language just as real languages do. Many languages won’t put an ergative case ending on an animate subject because, hey, it’s animate. Inanimate ones get one, though.