Category: cognition (page 1 of 4)

Episode 265: Universal Grammar 2 (featuring Dan Everett and Lynne Murphy)

The biggest idea in linguistics is back on the table.

Is there such a thing as the Universal Grammar? Do you have to have a human brain to learn language, or is learning a language just like learning anything else? And are one man’s insights into Amazonian languages sufficient to demolish this theoretical edifice?

Linguists Dan Everett and Lynne Murphy talk to Daniel, Ben, and Kylie on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Dylan Websdane


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Patreon extras for this episode

Interview with Dan Everett 2016-10-07 (complete)

Cutting Room Floor 265: Universal Grammar 2

265: Universal Grammar 2 (featuring Dan Everett and Lynne Murphy) [128kbps] (for everyone)


Show notes

Warning: Bad linguistics alert

‘Th’ sound to vanish from English language by 2066 because of multiculturalism, say linguists
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/09/28/th-sound-to-vanish-from-english-language-by-2066-because-of-mult/

Here’s how the English language could sound incredibly different in 50 years
http://www.sciencealert.com/the-english-language-could-sound-incredibly-different-in-50-years-study-finds

Our accents are under threat: dialects may die as computers strip the beauty from language
http://www.wired.co.uk/article/dialect-english-regional-accents

It’s the end of the frog and toad for regional slang, says report
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/sep/29/its-the-end-of-the-frog-and-toad-for-regional-slang-says-report

XKCD:

Better linguistics alert

Researchers are using an app to crowdsource how the English language has changed
http://qz.com/694906/researchers-are-using-an-app-to-crowdsource-how-the-english-language-has-changed/

How do you say ‘scone’? English regional accents decline as ‘southern’ accent becomes widespread
http://home.bt.com/news/uk-news/how-do-you-say-scone-english-regional-accents-decline-as-southern-accent-becomes-widespread-11364064620130

How London has killed off elements of local dialects across England – in seven maps
https://www.indy100.com/article/how-london-has-killed-off-elements-of-local-dialects-across-englandin-seven-maps–ZJxofkDwH7Z

New Scientist: The Electric Kool-Aid language test
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2108618-the-electric-kool-aid-language-test/

Dan Everett: Who’s afraid of the big bad Wolfe? Apparently everyone.
https://daneverettbooks.com/whos-afraid-of-the-big-bad-wolfe-apparently-everyone/

Trump recorded having extremely lewd conversation about women in 2005
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-recorded-having-extremely-lewd-conversation-about-women-in-2005/2016/10/07/3b9ce776-8cb4-11e6-bf8a-3d26847eeed4_story.html

A banner day for profanity
https://stronglang.wordpress.com/2016/10/08/a-banner-day-for-profanity/

An Oxford linguist on the dangers of dismissing comments about sexual assault as “locker-room talk”
http://qz.com/807395/donald-trump-oxford-linguist-deborah-cameron-explains-the-dangers-of-dismissing-comments-about-sexual-assault-as-locker-room-talk/

“Locker room” language encourages rape culture, even if it stays private
http://qz.com/806386/donald-trumps-lewd-access-hollywood-video-locker-room-language-encourages-rape-culture/

Lynne Murphy on Twitter: @lynneguist
https://twitter.com/lynneguist

Lynne’s blog: Separated by a Common Language
https://separatedbyacommonlanguage.blogspot.com.au

Linguistics explains why Trump sounds racist when he says “the” African Americans
http://qz.com/806174/second-presidential-debate-linguistics-explains-why-donald-trump-sounds-racist-when-he-says-the-african-americans/

Everything that was said at the second Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton debate, highlighted
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/10/09/everything-that-was-said-at-the-second-donald-trump-vs-hillary-clinton-debate-highlighted/

“open mic” and “on the mic”


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Episode 256: Numbers

One, two, three… Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

And yet different languages express numbers in very different ways. How are they handled in our brains? And how did –illion get to be the suffix for truly astronomical sums?

Linguist Daniel Midgley runs the numbers on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Cole Healy


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Show notes

First major database of non-native English
http://phys.org/news/2016-07-major-database-non-native-english.html

Treebank of Learner English
http://esltreebank.org

Is “one, two, many” a myth?
https://numberwarrior.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/is-one-two-many-a-myth/

What Happens When a Language Has No Numbers?
http://www.slate.com/blogs/lexicon_valley/2013/10/16/piraha_cognitive_anumeracy_in_a_language_without_numbers.html

The Munduruku people: Can You Count Your Chickens?
http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/can-you-count-your-chickens

Big and small numbers are processed in different sides of the brain
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160304092755.htm

Both hemispheres of the brain process numbers
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160127083844.htm

Brain processes which lead to the concept of ‘zero’ on the number line
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160421133944.htm

Time and numbers mix together in the brain
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-07/afps-tan071911.php

Australian Aboriginal enumeration
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Aboriginal_enumeration

Joan Rivers: her best one-liners
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/comedy/11064386/Joan-Rivers-her-best-one-liners.html

Why Is It ‘Eleven, Twelve’ Instead of ‘Oneteen, Twoteen’?
http://mentalfloss.com/article/76007/why-it-eleven-twelve-instead-oneteen-twoteen

French Numbers 1-100
http://blogs.transparent.com/french/french-numbers-1-100/

kasnas-blueberry-muffinpoptarts-source-quasi-normalcy-kellhorreur-sadjadewithcake-french-sixty-seven-sixty-eight-2474484

Number Systems of the World
http://www.sf.airnet.ne.jp/ts/language/number.html

The Number System of Huli
http://www.sf.airnet.ne.jp/ts/language/number/huli.html

The Number System of Yoruba
http://www.sf.airnet.ne.jp/ts/language/number/yoruba.html

The Number System of Ndom
http://www.sf.airnet.ne.jp/ts/language/number/ndom.html

12 Mind Blowing Number Systems From Other Languages
http://mentalfloss.com/article/31879/12-mind-blowing-number-systems-other-languages

Vocabulary.com: You Be “-Illion”!
https://www.vocabulary.com/articles/dictionary/you-be-illion/

MILLIONS and BILLIONS…..
http://www.dozenalsociety.org.uk/numbers/millions.htm

-Illion Numbers
http://www.polytope.net/hedrondude/illion.htm

Names for Large Numbers
https://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/units/large.html

American / Japanese Higher Numbers
http://www.trussel.com/jnumbers.htm

Public urged to track ‘nurdles’ on Scotland’s beaches
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-36211895

Proud to Love Nerds!
http://www.candyfavorites.com/a-nerd-tastic-history

Gaelic: Counting Objects
http://www.irishgaelictranslator.com/articles/grammar/counting-objects/

How to Count to 10 in Irish
http://www.wikihow.com/Count-to-10-in-Irish

Berliner, Krapfen und Pfannkuchen
http://www.zeit.de/zeit-magazin/2014/53/pfannkuchen-berliner-sprache-deutschlandkarte

US Dialect maps:
caramelpecan


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Episode 243: Synaesthesia

Can you hear colours? Or smell sounds?

We’re starting to understand synaesthesia — the blending of senses that some people experience. Now language researchers are using synaesthesia to understand how we process language, and even how language got started in the first place.

Linguist Daniel Midgley finds the synaesthete in all of us on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Justine Dandy


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Show notes

Higgledy-piggledy
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=higgledy-piggledy

The Kiki-Bouba effect
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/bring-science-home-bouba-kiki-effect/

Google Books just won a decade-long copyright fight
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2016/04/18/google-books-just-won-a-decade-long-copyright-fight/

Google wins book-scanning copyright case against Authors Guild
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-19/google-wins-long-running-book-scanning-copyright-case/7336622

Google’s Court Victory Is Good for Scholarly Authors. Here’s Why.
http://chronicle.com/article/Google-s-Court-Victory-Is/233940

Synesthesia: Why some people hear color, taste sounds
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150413214343.htm

Some Rules of Language are Wired in the Brain
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/some-rules-of-language-are-wired-in-the-brain/

Study links synaesthesia with coloured fridge magnets
http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-01/24/synaesthesia

Lots of Cases of Synesthesia Are Based on Alphabet Magnets
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2015/03/04/synesthesia-based-alphabet-magnets/

Synaesthesia could help us understand how the brain processes language
https://www.theguardian.com/science/head-quarters/2016/feb/26/synaesthesia-could-help-us-understand-how-the-brain-processes-language

Paper: Processing compound words: Evidence from synaesthesia (paywall)
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010027716300075

V.S. Ramachandran and E.M. Hubbard: Synaesthesia — A Window Into Perception, Thought and Language (long read, but worth it)
http://www.imprint.co.uk/rama/synaesthesia.pdf

Weak Synesthesia in Perception and Language (paywall)
http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199603329.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199603329-e-038

Why ‘Cool’ Is Still Cool
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/22/opinion/why-cool-is-still-cool.html?_r=1

The Birth of Cool
http://www.slate.com/articles/life/cool_story/2013/10/cool_the_etymology_and_history_of_the_concept_of_coolness.html

froobs blog: bork megapost
http://froobs.tumblr.com/post/134822731279/bork-megapost

Stop It Son, You Are Doing Me A Frighten
http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/stop-it-son-you-are-doing-me-a-frighten

@ProBirdRights on Twitter
https://twitter.com/ProBirdRights

What Do Swedes Think of the Swedish Chef?
http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2012/08/swedish_chef_what_do_swedes_think_of_him_they_think_he_sounds_norwegian_.html

Understanding the Swedish Pitch Accent
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXp7_Sjgm34

Brr: It’s in the Duden, the official German dictionary
http://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/brr

Cold Comfort: Is Brr Meant to be Spoken, or Only Written?http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2015/01/26/cold-comfort/


Show tunes

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

Image credit: https://www.alfavita.gr/arthron/υπογράφηκαν-οι-πρώτες-85-απολύσεις-εκπαιδευτικών-μετά-από-100-χρόνια

Episode 239: Animal Syntax

Other animals don’t have language like we do, but some of them might be getting awfully close.

A recent experiment claims that some birds use a form of syntax — that they combine their signals in a way that’s always been thought to be unique to humans. Are these bird brains on to something?

Linguist Daniel Midgley sets things in order on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Kylie Sturgess


Show notes

Microsoft’s New Twitter Bot Becomes Nazi Sympathizing Maniac Within 24 Hours
http://theantimedia.org/microsofts-new-twitter-bot-becomes-nazi-sympathizing-maniac-within-24-hours/

Microsoft: Tay
https://www.tay.ai

Microsoft killed its first sentient AI
https://imgur.com/gallery/VhlAW

Artificially Intelligent Robot Tells Creator It Will Keep Humans “In a People Zoo”
http://theantimedia.org/artificially-intelligent-robot-tells-creator-it-will-keep-humans-in-a-people-zoo/

A new study will figure out if cats pick up the dialects of their owners
http://www.sciencealert.com/a-new-study-will-figure-out-if-cats-pick-up-the-dialects-of-their-owners

WATCH: Do you understand what your cat is saying?
http://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/article/watch-do-you-understand-what-your-cat-is-saying

Syntax is not unique to human language
http://phys.org/news/2016-03-syntax-unique-human-language.html

Bird Uses Linguistics Thought to Be Exclusively Human
http://www.i4u.com/2016/03/106816/bird-uses-linguistics-thought-be-exclusively-human

Ape ‘language ace’ gets tripped up by simple grammar
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/03/ape-language-ace-gets-tripped-simple-grammar

Dendrophobia in Bonobo Comprehension of Spoken English (PDF)
http://evolang.org/neworleans/pdf/EVOLANG_11_paper_87.pdf

$380 million ship may be named Boaty McBoatface thanks to an online poll
http://www.smh.com.au/world/380-million-ship-may-be-named-boaty-mcboatface-thanks-to-an-online-poll-20160320-gnmtvx.html

Commuters salute guard after ‘Trainy McTrainface’ pulls into Waterloo
http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/commuters-salute-guard-after-trainy-mctrainface-pulls-into-waterloo-a3209291.html

Mar 14th ’11: “I agree though. He’s definitely Sexy McSexFace. <3”
http://www.babygaga.com/t-1619410/you-watch-army-wives.html

Insulting nicknames involving “face”
http://ask.metafilter.com/166971/Gimme-some-nicknames-Dorks

Simpsons: Rome-old and Juli-eh — the origin of Esteban De La Sexface
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0918867/

From Cool McCool to Boaty McBoatface: An Investigationy McInvestigation
http://www.slate.com/blogs/lexicon_valley/2016/03/25/boaty_mcboatface_mcdreamy_tits_mcgee_and_the_internet_s_favorite_naming.html


Show tunes

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Image credit: http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/blogs/birds-use-syntax-humbling-humanity

Episode 235: Worst Words (featuring Don Watson)

Are our vocabularies shrinking? Is bureaucratic double-talk a sinister form of code designed to short-circuit original thought?

Author Don Watson thinks so, and explains why in his latest book Worst Words. But how does his view stack up to language science?

Don Watson goes head to head with linguist Daniel Midgley on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Kylie Sturgess


Show notes

UNESCO: International Mother Language Day
http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/events/prizes-and-celebrations/celebrations/international-days/international-mother-language-day-2016/

Language in school: If you don’t understand, how can you learn
https://efareport.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/language-in-school-if-you-dont-understand-how-can-you-learn/

‘40% have no access to education in own language’
http://en.prothom-alo.com/international/news/95665/‘40%25-have-no-access-to-education-in-own-language’

Aboriginal minister Bess Price denied request to speak Indigenous language in NT Parliament
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-18/nt-warlpiri-minister-denied-request-to-speak-indigenous-language/7178298

Minister Chastised For Speaking Indigenous Language On Indigenous Land.
http://www.sbs.com.au/comedy/article/2016/02/19/minister-chastised-speaking-indigenous-language-indigenous-land

Worst Words: A compendium of contemporary cant, gibberish and jargon
http://www.randomhouse.com.au/books/don-watson/watsons-word-wisdom-9780857983442.aspx

Don Watson on the warpath against Worst Words
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/review/don-watson-on-the-warpath-against-worst-words/news-story/3d997f3c60acfd8fd69aa8e65236a08d

Worst Words review: Don Watson fires up on howlers, expressions and bad language
http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/worst-words-review-don-watson-fires-up-on-howlers-expressions-and-bad-language-20151207-glh17i.html

Late Night Live: Don Watson’s worst words
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/latenightlive/don/6948354

Etymonline: attrit
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=attrit

Does the average American student have less vocabulary today than in days gone by?
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2724/does-the-average-american-student-have-less-vocabulary-today-than-in-days-gone-by

Vocabulary Test Results Show Top U.S. Students Losing Ground, Others Stagnate
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/06/vocabulary-test-results-us_n_2249647.html

Fast-growing tumbleweed called hairy panic blows into Australian city
http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/feb/18/fast-growing-tumbleweed-called-hairy-panic-blows-into-australian-city

Comment: Are ‘frolleagues’ replacing our friends?
http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/02/18/comment-are-frolleagues-replacing-our-friends

Urban Dictionary: frolleague
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=frolleague

Groucho Marx: “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/g/grouchomar146422.html

From Monica: Copywriting Fundamentals: How to Write in Plain English
http://thecopycollective.com/copywriting-fundamentals-how-to-write-in-plain-english/


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Episode 220: Not So Arbitrary

Why do words appear the way they do?

Why aren’t words the same in every language?

Sometimes it doesn’t seem to make any sense. But new research shows that maybe language is not as arbitrary as it seems.

Linguist Daniel Midgley makes sense of the chaos on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Kylie Sturgess


Show notes

James Chapman’s Tumblr blog
http://chapmangamo.tumblr.com

20 Actually Useful Chengyu (成语)
http://carlgene.com/blog/2010/07/20-actually-useful-chengyu-成语/

How to say “third wheel” in French?
https://au.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20101120103032AAU5Jcf

LiveJournal: third wheel
http://linguaphiles.livejournal.com/3313785.html

Third wheel? Fifth wheel? (Try control-clicking on the lines to make them collapse.)

“Play gooseberry”
http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/play+gooseberry

Buzzfeed: What Noises Do Animals Make In Other Languages? Here Is An Important Guide
http://www.buzzfeed.com/robinedds/what-noises-do-animals-make-in-other-languages-here-is-an-im#.ic7P18xW4

Epic of Gilgamesh Summary
http://www.shmoop.com/gilgamesh/summary.html

Lost ‘Epic of Gilgamesh’ Verse Depicts Cacophonous Abode of Gods
http://www.livescience.com/52372-new-tablet-gilgamesh-epic.html

The Newly Discovered Tablet V of the Epic of Gilgamesh
http://etc.ancient.eu/2015/09/24/giglamesh-enkidu-humbaba-cedar-forest-newest-discovered-tablet-v-epic/

Back to the Cedar Forest: The beginning and end of Tablet V of the Standard Babylonian Epic of Gilgameš
http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/18512/

Points of similarity between the Babylonian and Noachian flood stories
http://www.religioustolerance.org/noah_com.htm

On the Arbitrary Nature of Linguistic Sign
http://www.academypublication.com/issues/past/tpls/vol02/01/07.pdf

Hockett’s features of human language
http://people.exeter.ac.uk/bosthaus/Lecture/hockett1.htm

Hockett on arbitrariness and iconicity
http://ideophone.org/hockett-on-arbitrariness-and-iconicity/

Saussure knew about iconicity, despite his focus on arbitrariness
http://hiphilangsci.net/2014/08/06/saussures-sound-symbolism/

Wikipedia: Koro language
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koro_language_(India)

Koro–the psychological disappearance of the penis.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17727356

Koro Syndrome: The Irrational Fear of Lethal Genital Shrinkage
http://io9.com/5944722/koro-syndrome-the-irrational-fear-of-lethal-genital-shrinkage

Wiktionary: koro
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/koro

Languages less arbitrary than long assumed
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151001130050.htm

Finding iconicity in spoken languages
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-09/uom-fii090915.php

Arbitrariness, Iconicity, and Systematicity in Language
http://www.cell.com/trends/cognitive-sciences/abstract/S1364-6613(15)00177-1?_returnURL=http%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS1364661315001771%3Fshowall%3Dtrue

Road to language learning is iconic
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121113143705.htm

Language Hat: Gluckschmerz
http://languagehat.com/gluckschmerz/

Schadenfreude Is in the Zeitgeist, but Is There an Opposite Term?
http://www.wsj.com/articles/schadenfreude-is-in-the-zeitgeist-but-is-there-an-opposite-term-1434129186


Show tunes

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

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Episode 216: The Cutting Edge

Can computers detect sarcasm? Predict betrayal? Spot a drunk text?

Yes, all that and then some. A recent conference gave computational linguists a chance to show how sharp the cutting edge of language technology really is.

Linguist Daniel Midgley reads the articles so you don’t have to, for this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Jane Hebiton


Show notes

Coding in the classroom: Python overtakes French as most popular ‘language’ in primary schools
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/coding-uk-classroom-python-overtakes-french-most-popular-language-primary-schools-1517491

WaPo: Inside the surprisingly high-stakes quest to design a computer program that ‘gets’ sarcasm online
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2015/08/18/inside-the-surprisingly-high-stakes-quest-to-design-a-computer-program-that-gets-sarcasm-online/

The Sarcasm Detector
http://www.thesarcasmdetector.com

The paper: Harnessing Context Incongruity for Sarcasm Detection (PDF)
http://www.aclweb.org/anthology/P/P15/P15-2124.pdf

ScienceNews: A few key signs betray betrayal
https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/culture-beaker/few-key-signs-betray-betrayal

Cornell Uni: Language analysis predicts a coming betrayal
http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2015/08/language-analysis-predicts-coming-betrayal

STUDY: Changes in language, tone could reveal impending betrayal
http://www.diamondbackonline.com/news/study-changes-in-language-tone-could-reveal-impending-betrayal/article_a4da0a7c-50f4-11e5-80d6-030e2fec745c.html

The paper: Linguistic Harbingers of Betrayal: A Case Study on an Online Strategy Game (PDF)
http://www.aclweb.org/anthology/P/P15/P15-1159.pdf

IIT-Bombay team creates program to detect drunk text message writers http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/iit-bombay-team-creates-program-to-detect-drunk-text-message-writers/

The paper: A Computational Approach to Automatic Prediction of Drunk-Texting (PDF)
http://www.aclweb.org/anthology/P/P15/P15-2100.pdf

Paper: Modeling Argument Strength in Student Essays (PDF)
http://www.aclweb.org/anthology/P/P15/P15-1053.pdf

Paper: Automatic disambiguation of English puns (PDF)
http://www.aclweb.org/anthology/P/P15/P15-1070.pdf

Paper: Automatic Discrimination between Cognates and Borrowings (PDF)
http://www.aclweb.org/anthology/P/P15/P15-2071.pdf

All the ACL2015 papers!
http://www.aclweb.org/anthology/P/P15/

The Gayby Project
http://thegaybyproject.com/the-gayby-project/

Gayby Baby: NSW Government’s ban on screening same-sex parenting documentary sends ‘negative message’ to young people
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-27/gayby-baby-film-ban-sends-negative-message-to-young-people/6728098

Why banning Gayby Baby is damaging for gay families
http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/why-banning-gayby-baby-is-damaging-for-gay-families/story-fnq2o7dd-1227502867783

Oh Hey There: Trisyllabic Lax
http://tristn.tumblr.com/post/81899169/english-phonology-trisyllabic-laxing

:Trisyllabic Laxing:
http://blogjam.name/sid/?page_id=3814

GLoWbE: The Corpus of Global Web-Based English
http://corpus.byu.edu/glowbe/


Show tunes

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

Image credit: http://www.aclweb.org/website_images/wRobot.png

Episode 213: Short and Sweet

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
http://news.sciencemag.org/plants-animals/2015/04/marmoset-conversations-may-give-clues-evolution-human-language

Related to PharaohKatt’s post: some of my favourite linguistic developments
http://221–bee.tumblr.com/post/125666704553/some-of-my-favourite-linguistic-developments

Know Your Meme: Doge
http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/doge

Know Your Meme: Son, I Am Disappoint
http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/son-i-am-disappoint

LOLspeak
http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/lolspeak-chanspeak/children

Follow Dog Solutions. It funny
https://twitter.com/DogSolutions

NatGeo: Bonobo “Baby Talk” Reveals Roots of Human Language
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/08/150808-animals-bonobos-apes-evolution-speech/

Guardian: Bonobos have mastered the art of babytalk, new research shows
http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/aug/04/bonobos-mastered-art-of-babytalk-language-evolution

Daily Mail: Bonobos speak like HUMAN BABIES: Apes use high-pitched ‘peeps’ just like infants learning to talk
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3184869/Bonobos-speak-like-HUMAN-BABIES-Apes-use-high-pitched-peeps-just-like-infants-learning-talk.html

Scientific American: Bonobo Peeps May Be Necessary Language Precursors
http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/bonobo-peeps-may-be-necessary-language-precursors/

MIT Linguists Say Human Languages Might Be Predictable
https://www.inverse.com/article/5136-mit-linguists-say-human-languages-might-be-predictable

The paper: Large-scale evidence of dependency length minimization in 37 languages
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/07/28/1502134112

MIT Study Suggests a Universal Property of Language
http://languagemagazine.com/?p=124247

All languages have evolved to have this in common
http://news.sciencemag.org/social-sciences/2015/08/all-languages-have-evolved-have-common

More about language universals (PDF)
http://www.uio.no/studier/emner/hf/ikos/EXFAC03-AAS/h05/larestoff/linguistics/Chapter%203.(H05).pdf

Klittra wins the vote in Sweden as the new word for female masturbation. Don’t be surprised if English adopts it. http://t.co/gQjBOnjsN5

— Wordability (@WordabilityHugh) June 23, 2015

Jezebel: Add the Word ‘Klittra’ to Your Sexual Dictionary
http://jezebel.com/add-the-word-klittra-to-your-sexual-dictionary-1712951840

Guardian: Sweden invents a word for girls’ genitals equivalent to ‘willy’ for boys
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/01/sweden-girls-genitals-feminist-invention-snippa-vagina

Swedish children’s TV dancing genitals cartoon sparks parental outcry
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/14/swedish-childrens-tv-cartoon-dancing-sparks-parental-outcry-genitals-penis-vagina-dancing

English remix of Swedish ‘genitals’ song released
http://www.thelocal.se/20150305/english-remix-of-sweden-genitals-song-twinkle-willie

Inevitable dance remix
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AWRwd6NlXA

Where does on the dole come from?
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=dole


Show tunes

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

Image credit: http://news.sciencemag.org/social-sciences/2015/08/all-languages-have-evolved-have-common

Episode 211: Newsbag

For this episode, we’re reaching deep into the newsbag, and showing what’s new in the world of linguistics.

Is there a war on women’s voices? Is a popular toy spouting obscenities? And how did the language of trade floor speculation become the latest dead “language”?

Linguist Daniel Midgley and Em Burrows bring you the latest on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Em Burrows

from 21 July 2015

Promo with Em Burrows

from 28 July 2015


Show notes

“Head down, bum up?”
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/head_down,_bum_up

MasterChef winner scores cash, car, column AND a new job with Heston Blumenthal
http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/masterchef-winner-scores-cash-car-column-and-a-new-job-with-heston-blumenthal/story-fn8yvfst-1227459594834

Tracking Hillary Clinton’s Use of Every American Accent East of the Mississippi
https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-04-22/tracking-hillary-clinton-s-use-of-every-american-accent-east-of-the-mississippi

Naomi Wolf: Young women, give up the vocal fry and reclaim your strong female voice
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/24/vocal-fry-strong-female-voice

Amanda Marcotte: The war on female voices is just another way of telling women to shut up
http://www.dailydot.com/opinion/vocal-fry-99-percent-invisible-womens-voices/

Language Log: And we have a winner…
http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=20245

Traders’ language goes the way of Latin and Aramaic
http://www.reuters.com/video/2015/06/30/traders-language-goes-the-way-of-latin-a?videoId=364794821&videoChannel=5&channelName=Business

Closure of futures trading pits will render a language extinct
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/closure-of-futures-trading-pits-will-render-a-language-extinct-2015-07-01

To the Wayback Machine for this tutorial on the lost system of trading floor signs.
http://web.archive.org/web/20050830083840/http://www.cme.com/edu/course/resources/exmpldev9722.html

Is this Minion toy swearing?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEnPYxFP9Vc&feature=em-hot-b

McDonald’s denies Minion toy swears
http://www.skynews.com.au/culture/offbeat/2015/07/11/mcdonald-s-denies-minion-toy-swears.html

Did a talking doll say “Islam is the light”?
http://urbanlegends.about.com/b/2008/10/10/talking-doll-allegedly-says-islam-is-the-light.htm

Hear some phantom words
http://www.philomel.com/phantom_words/example_phantom_words.php

Scientists Decipher 1,500-Year-Old Hebrew Scroll
http://www.sci-news.com/othersciences/linguistics/science-ein-gedi-scroll-03049.html

The new French-language Scrabble champion doesn’t speak French
http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-07-21/new-french-language-scrabble-champion-doesn-t-speak-french


Show tunes

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

Image credit: https://foxchasereview.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/newspaper-reporter-typewriter.jpg

Episode 197: The Birthplace of Indo-European (featuring Luisa Miceli)

Where did Indo-European come from?

It’s a controversial question that has set linguist against linguist for generations. But now DNA evidence is providing clues.

Linguist Luisa Miceli is in the studio with Daniel and Ben on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Em Burrows


Show notes

New study to examine Aussie English
http://phys.org/news/2015-03-aussie-english.html

Take the survey! AUSTRALIAN ENGLISH LANGUAGE ATTITUDES
https://ozenglishstudy.wordpress.com

When Your Punctuation Says It All (!)
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/01/style/when-your-punctuation-says-it-all.html?_r=0

No Punctuation Is Funnier
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/19/twitter-grammar-no-punctuation_n_6785766.html

French Teenagers Speak a Language All Their Own. Confused? Here’s a Guide
http://globalvoicesonline.org/2015/02/28/decoding-teenager-language-french/

Spanish Cell Phone Abbreviations
http://spanish.about.com/od/writtenspanish/a/sms.htm

Older, but a good rundown of all the things we mean when we talk about the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
http://hilgart.org/enformy/dma-dwh.htm

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: The Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/relativism/supplement2.html

This set of links concerns Atkinson’s work on the Anatolian hypothesis.
Family Tree of Languages Has Roots in Anatolia, Biologists Say
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/24/science/indo-european-languages-originated-in-anatolia-analysis-suggests.html

Turkey the birthplace of Hindi, English: study
http://phys.org/news/2012-08-turkey-birthplace-hindi-english.html

Researchers identify present day Turkey as origin of Indo-European languages
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/researchers-identify-present-day-turkey-as-origin-of-indo-european-languages/2012/08/23/6133c564-ed3e-11e1-b09d-07d971dee30a_story.html

This set of links is more recent, and concerns the new evidence for the Steppe Hypothesis.
Indo-European Languages Originated 6,000 Years Ago in Russian Grasslands
http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/indo-european-languages-may-have-originated-6000-years-ago-russian-grasslands

Steppe migration rekindles debate on language origin
http://www.nature.com/news/steppe-migration-rekindles-debate-on-language-origin-1.16935

Indo-European Languages Originated in Pontic-Caspian Steppe, Research Suggests
http://www.sci-news.com/othersciences/linguistics/science-indo-european-languages-originated-pontic-caspian-steppe-02516.html

Is “massive migration from the steppe … a source for Indo-European languages in Europe”?
http://languagesoftheworld.info/historical-linguistics/massive-migration-steppe-source-indo-european-languages-europe.html

Europe’s Languages Were Carried From the East, DNA Shows
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/03/150303-human-dna-europe-language-archaeology/

Language Origins Challenged at the University of Adelaide
http://www.training.com.au/ed/language-origins-challenged-university-adelaide/

Resilient
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/resilient

Aboriginal protesters confront Premier
https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/26729560/aboriginal-protesters-confront-premier/

Aboriginal community closure: intense rally at Parliament House
http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/aboriginal-community-closure-intense-rally-at-parliament-house-20150319-1m30d0.html

Kisses and Hugs in the Office
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/12/the-xo-factor/309174/


Show tunes

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

Image credit: http://www.humanjourney.us/images/Kurgan_expansion.jpg

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