Category: language evolution (page 1 of 3)

Episode 308: Pet Translator

Just how feasible is a pet translator?

A report from a futurologist is claiming that we’re only ten years away from having deep and meaningfuls with our puppers and kittehs. But there might be some technical hurdles — including the possibility that there’s nothing going on to translate.

Daniel, Kylie, and Ben think it over on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Show notes

Court rules request for ‘lawyer dog’ too ‘ambiguous’
http://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/357817-court-rules-request-for-lawyer-dog-too-ambiguous

How the English language has evolved like a living creature
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/11/how-english-language-has-evolved-living-creature

Resistance to changes in grammar is futile, say researchers
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/nov/01/resistance-to-changes-in-grammar-is-futile-say-researchers

Hear, boy? Pet translators will be on sale soon, Amazon says
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jul/22/hear-boy-pet-translators-will-be-on-sale-soon-amazon-says

The Catterbox collar will translate your cat’s meows into human speech
https://www.indy100.com/article/the-catterbox-collar-will-translate-your-cats-meows-into-human-speech–bkxNx34yZMb

Scientists Document Wild Birds ‘Talking’ With Humans For The First Time
http://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-document-wild-birds-communicating-with-african-tribespeople-to-help-them-find-honey

Elephant translator turns human language into pachyderm-talk
https://www.cnet.com/au/news/elephant-translator-hello-in-elephant-david-sheldrick-wildlife-trust/

Heinz pits tomato sauce against ketchup in a new challenge
https://mumbrella.com.au/heinz-pits-sauce-ketchup-new-challenge-471214

What’s the Difference Between Ketchup and Catsup?
http://mentalfloss.com/article/29649/whats-difference-between-ketchup-and-catsup

Condiment shake-up as Heinz plays ketchup
http://www.news.com.au/finance/condiment-shake-up-as-heinz-plays-ketchup/news-story/a24532be3e963785de90eca5755e0d45


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Episode 302: Creoles 1 (featuring Damián Blasi)

How do Creole languages arise?

A controversial new paper is rocking the linguistic world. Are Creole languages different from other languages? How do they start? And what does this all mean about the human language ability?

Daniel Midgley speaks with author Damián Blasi on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Show notes

The Closing of a Great American Dialect Project
https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/the-closing-of-a-great-american-dialect-project

Fieldwork Recordings—Dictionary Of American Regional English
https://uwdc.library.wisc.edu/collections/amerlangs/

Dictionary of Regional American English
http://dare.wisc.edu

Arthur the Rat
http://dare.wisc.edu/audio/arthur-the-rat

Browse 100 Sample Entries
https://www.daredictionary.com/page/100sampleentries

Humans learn complex grammatical patterns even in extremely challenging circumstances
https://phys.org/news/2017-09-humans-complex-grammatical-patterns-extremely.html

Grammatical patterns survive extreme social upheaval, study shows
https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2017/09/05/Grammatical-patterns-survive-extreme-social-upheaval-study-shows/1281504626189/

Blasi et al.: Grammars are robustly transmitted even during the emergence of creole languages
Read-only link

Language Log: No creoles?
http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=34340

New way don dey to prevent HIV
https://www.bbc.com/pidgin/world-41364083

Kim’s Rejoinder to Trump’s Rocket Man: ‘Mentally Deranged U.S. Dotard’
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/21/world/asia/kim-trump-rocketman-dotard.html

Kim Jong-un Called Trump a ‘Dotard.’ What Does That Even Mean?
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/22/world/asia/trump-north-korea-dotard.html

Kim Jong-Un Calling Trump A ‘Dotard’ Gave The Internet A Language Lesson
https://www.wired.com/story/kim-jong-un-trump-dotard/

Kim Jong Un just called Trump a ‘dotard’ — here’s what that means
https://www.businessinsider.com.au/what-does-dotard-mean-2017-9?r=US&IR=T

Where is ‘Nambia’? President Trump ‘invents’ African country
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-41345577

Trump Names Sarah Palin Ambassador to Nambia
https://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/trump-names-sarah-palin-ambassador-to-nambia

Nambian covfefe
https://www.facebook.com/rtrfmtalkthetalk/posts/1917185944974855

#TakeAKnee: 5 Things To Know About NFL Players Protesting At Football Games
http://hollywoodlife.com/2017/09/23/what-is-take-a-knee-facts-nfl-players-protest-national-anthem/

Stevie Wonder joins #takeaknee protest against Trump’s attack on NFL players
https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/sep/24/stevie-wonder-joins-takeaknee-protest-against-trumps-attack-on-nfl-players

John Legend, Diddy, Ed Asner, more react to Donald Trump’s attack on NFL player protests
https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/entertainthis/2017/09/23/hollywood-takes-knee-best-reaction-donald-trumps-attack-nfl-player-protests/696666001/

Flipping the North Koreans off
https://iconicphotos.org/2010/10/01/flipping-the-north-koreans-off/

Korean is virtually two languages, and that’s a big problem for North Korean defectors
https://www.pri.org/stories/2015-05-19/korean-today-virtually-two-languages-and-thats-problem-north-korean-defectors

Wikipedia: North–South differences in the Korean language
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North–South_differences_in_the_Korean_language


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Episode 288: Letters Lost

English used to look a lot different.

We used to use a lot of letters that no longer exist. They had names like eth, wynn, thorn, and ash. Ben, Kylie, and Daniel talk about what they looked like, how they sounded… and ampersand‘s secret past.

It’s all happening on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Show notes

Put your hands together for NZ Sign Language Week
http://ourauckland.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/articles/news/2017/05/nzsl-week/

VIDEO: Sign language interpreter upstages Snoop Dogg
http://pickle.nine.com.au/2017/05/10/11/18/snoop-dogg-sign-language-interpreter-steals-show

Homo naledi may have lived at around same time as early humans
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/homo-naledi-may-have-lived-around-same-time-early-humans

Small-brained early human lived more recently than expected
http://www.nature.com/news/small-brained-early-human-lived-more-recently-than-expected-1.21961

12 Letters That Didn’t Make the Alphabet
http://mentalfloss.com/article/31904/12-letters-didnt-make-alphabet

We Used To Have 6 More Letters In Our Alphabet
https://omgfacts.com/we-used-to-have-6-more-letters-in-our-alphabet-a7e1a165853d

The Lost Letters Of The Alphabet
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-rosen/the-lost-letters-of-the-a_b_6666726.html

Orthography
http://people.umass.edu/sharris/in/gram/GrammarBook/orthography.html

Grammarphobia: An ædifying history
http://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2011/05/ae-digraph-ligature.html

How is “æ” supposed to be pronounced?
https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/70927/how-is-æ-supposed-to-be-pronounced

Eth, thorn, and ash: they flunked the screen test for our alphabet
http://bookhaven.stanford.edu/2013/08/eth-thorn-and-ash-they-flunked-the-screen-test-for-our-alphabet/

Why is ‘w’ pronounced ‘double u’ rather than ‘double v’?
https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/explore/why-is-w-pronounced-double-u

If “w” is double u, why is it made of two v’s?
http://blog.dictionary.com/w/

Letter Finder
http://www.scottishhandwriting.com/cmlfyo.asp

The Rules for Long S
http://babelstone.blogspot.com.au/2006/06/rules-for-long-s.html

Why does the ending -ough have six pronunciations?
https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/31991/why-does-the-ending-ough-have-six-pronunciations

What Character Was Removed from the Alphabet?
http://blog.dictionary.com/ampersand/

Language Log: Priming the pump
http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=32625

Language Log: Priming the pump: a cartoon history
http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=32649

France just rejected the far right and elected Emmanuel Macron
https://www.vox.com/world/2017/5/7/15571666/french-elections-emmanuel-macron-marine-le-pen-front-national-vote-win

10 things to know about NOTA — a voter’s right to reject
http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/10-things-to-know-about-nota-a-voter-s-right-to-reject/story-SkX0EsDQbjG5e2sz0L5N9H.html

Trump to NBC’s Lester Holt: Comey’s ‘a showboat,’ ‘I was going to fire regardless of recommendation’
http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-trump-to-nbc-s-lester-holt-i-was-1494522620-htmlstory.html

The history of ransomware
http://www.csoonline.com/article/3095956/data-breach/the-history-of-ransomware.html#slide2

Ware: “Simple Simon met a pieman…”
http://www3.amherst.edu/~rjyanco94/literature/mothergoose/rhymes/simplesimonmetapieman.html

Rocky and Bullwinkle: Simple Simon

A 1987 reference to ransomware
Google Books link

4 Ways to Protect Against the Very Real Threat of Ransomware
https://www.wired.com/2016/05/4-ways-protect-ransomware-youre-target/

RANSOMWARE: Hostage Rescue Manual (PDF)
https://www.wired.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/RansomwareManual-1.pdf

Green’s Dictionary of Slang: cock
https://greensdictofslang.com/entry/kjbkjfi

Wikipedia: Cockburn (surname)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cockburn_(surname)

Online Etymology Dictionary
curse, cursive, cursor


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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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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 252: The Tower of Babel

Is there anything to the story of the Tower of Babel?

It’s a legend about why human languages are so different. So was there really only one human language a long time ago? Maybe — but how does this match up with the biblical account of the confounding of tongues?

Linguist Daniel Midgley puts an end to the confusion on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Kylie Sturgess


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Show notes

All 72 New Unicode 9 Emoji, Definitively Ranked From Most Exciting To Most Meh
http://www.bustle.com/articles/168770-all-72-new-unicode-9-emoji-definitively-ranked-from-most-exciting-to-most-meh

Apple releases animated emoji sticker packs for iOS 10 Messages
http://appleinsider.com/articles/16/07/02/apple-releases-animated-emoji-sticker-packs-for-ios-10-messages

Apple, Facebook and Google ban rifle emoji from Olympics update
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/06/20/apple-facebook-and-google-ban-rifle-emoji-from-olympics-update/

Rifle emoji blocked from phones ‘after pressure from Apple’
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jun/20/apple-rifle-emoji-phones-unicode

Here’s The Reason Why There Will Be No Rifle Emoji
http://www.techtimes.com/articles/165709/20160618/here-s-reason-why-will-rifle-emoji.htm

What happened to the rifle emoji?
http://www.newstatesman.com/science-tech/social-media/2016/06/what-happened-rifle-emoji

Could an emoji death threat land you in jail?
http://www.cbc.ca/newsblogs/yourcommunity/2014/01/could-an-emoji-death-threat-land-you-in-jail.html

RationalWiki: Tower of Babel
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Tower_of_Babel

Skeptics Annotated Bible: Genesis 11
http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/gen/11.html

Focus On Tower of Babel
https://global.oup.com/obso/focus/focus_on_towerbabel/

The Wrathful Dispersion Controversy: A Canadian Perspective
http://specgram.com/CLI.1/06.pheevr.dispersion.html

Yes, people do believe this.
Gallup: “Twenty-eight percent of Americans believe the Bible is the actual word of God and that it should be taken literally.”
http://www.gallup.com/poll/170834/three-four-bible-word-god.aspx

Grain of salt alert for the next two articles!

The Tower of Babel Account: A Linguistic Consideration
http://smithandfranklin.com/current-issues/The-Tower-of-Babel-Account-A-Linguistic-Consideration/9/5/98/html

Answers in Genesis: Was the Dispersion at Babel a Real Event?
https://answersingenesis.org/tower-of-babel/was-the-dispersion-at-babel-a-real-event/

The Canterbury Tales (in Middle English)
http://www.librarius.com/cantales.htm

There are more things in prehistory than are dreamt of in our urheimat
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2012/08/there-are-more-things-in-prehistory-than-are-dreamt-of-in-our-urheimat/

Ussher Chronology
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ussher_chronology

Can the Ussher Chronology Be Trusted?
http://www.icr.org/article/can-ussher-chronology-be-trusted/

Cuneiform
http://www.ancient.eu/cuneiform/

Makapansgat pebble
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makapansgat_pebble

paleo_pebble-1-400x500

I’m all ears: fossils reveal human ancestors’ hearing abilities
http://www.reuters.com/article/science-hearing-idUSL1N11U03020150925

2-million-year-old fossils reveal hearing abilities of early humans
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-09/bu-2fr092415.php

babel moon landings

Recovery Connection: Drunkorexia
https://www.recoveryconnection.com/addiction-resources/common-eating-disorders/drunkorexia/

‘Drunkorexia’ phenomena prominent in young Australian women, research finds
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-30/drunkorexia-phenomena-prominent-in-young-australian-women/7556476

The scary trend sweeping across Australian universities
http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/the-scary-trend-sweeping-across-australian-universities/news-story/7b8959b65655d798253c161ae66e2816

The Butterfly Foundation — Support for Australians experiencing eating disorders
http://thebutterflyfoundation.org.au

Government of Western Australia — Drug and Alcohol Office
http://www.dao.health.wa.gov.au/Home.aspx

Bill Nye visited a Noah’s Ark he doesn’t believe should exist
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2016/07/10/bill-nye-visited-a-noahs-ark-he-doesnt-believe-should-exist/

Kan Ham’s Blog: Bill Nye Visits the Ark Encounter
https://answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2016/07/08/bill-nye-visits-ark-encounter/


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Image credit: https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/d/dore/gustave/bible/plates/006.jpg

Episode 219: Eggcorns

Have you heard of eggcorns?

They’re off-quoted sayings that sometimes reel their ugly heads, and some might just leave you curled up in the feeble position.

Are they wrong? That might be a bit of a mute point. But can you tell the difference between an eggcorn and the real thing?

Linguist Daniel Midgley discusses them in one foul swoop on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Kylie Sturgess


Show notes

Google Ngram Viewer: “There is plenty of, There are plenty of
There’s Three Variants: Paper presented at LSA 2015 by Bonnie Krejci and Katherine Hilton, Stanford University (PDF)

http://stanford.edu/~khilton/Krejci+Hilton_LSA_2015.pdf

To Find Meteorites, Listen to the Legends of Australian Aborigines
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/find-meteorites-listen-legends-australian-aborigines-180952941/?no-ist

Australian Aboriginal Stories of Ancient Sea-Level Rise Preserved for 13,000 Years
http://www.sci-news.com/othersciences/linguistics/science-aboriginal-stories-australia-03272.html

Revealed: how Indigenous Australian storytelling accurately records sea level rises 7,000 years ago
http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/sep/16/indigenous-australian-storytelling-records-sea-level-rises-over-millenia

Eggcorn: The Invented Word That Describes Invented Words
http://io9.com/eggcorn-the-invented-word-that-describes-invented-word-1629293915

This Is What ‘Eggcorns’ Are (and Why They’re Jar-Droppingly Good)
http://time.com/3902230/what-is-an-eggcorn/

Eggcorns? Here, here!
https://uwelingo.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/eggcorns-here-here/

‘Eggcorns’: The Gaffes That Spread Like Wildflowers
http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/05/30/410504851/eggcorns-the-gaffes-that-spread-like-wildflowers

Google’s Ngram Viewer
https://books.google.com/ngrams

‘raucous’
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=raucous&allowed_in_frame=0

“A real tro*per”
http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/forum/viewtopic.php?id=1867

trooper vs. trouper
http://grammarpartyblog.com/2012/10/03/trooper-vs-trouper/

“exasperating the situation”
http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2010-September/102978.html

“firstable”
http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/category/english/

“supposably”
http://www.grammarly.com/blog/2014/supposably-is-a-word-but-theres-a-99-chance-you-dont-know-how-to-use-it/

Which one swooped? Fowl, foul or fell? (Aside from the obvious.)
http://glenjplayer.com/2012/10/one-fowl-foul-fell-felon-swoop/

the “bud” of someone’s jokes
http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/english/291/bud/

nip in the “butt”
http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/english/135/butt/

coming down the “pike”
http://www.word-detective.com/2009/08/mondegreen-vs-eggcorn/

“buck” naked
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/buck_naked#Etymology

Bu?? Naked
http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001351.html

Butt To Buck, Start To Stark, Or Vice Versa?
http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001959.html

Duc* tape
http://www.octanecreative.com/ducttape/duckvsduct.html

Hear, hear
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hear,_hear

Is It Straitjacket Or Straightjacket?
http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2013/02/is-it-straitjacket-or-straightjacket/

“straight” jacket is more common in books.

People emit a ‘germ cloud’ of bacteria as unique as a fingerprint, study finds
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/11883473/People-emit-a-germ-cloud-of-bacteria-as-unique-as-a-fingerprint-study-finds.html

Congressman grabs pope’s water glass, takes a sip
http://www.kansascity.com/living/religion/article36805737.html

Science Has Bad News for Guys With Man Buns
http://mic.com/articles/125687/science-has-bad-news-for-guys-with-man-buns

Science says the glorified man bun is a dangerous trend
http://www.aol.com/article/2015/09/23/science-says-the-glorified-man-bun-is-a-dangerous-trend/21240055/

#FreeKaren: Australians mock anti-radicalisation booklet
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-34355577

#freekaren: Govt’s school handout slammed for linking West Aust shark cull protest to radicalisation
http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2015/s4319916.htm

Kevin Rudd: To the Good Burghers of Griffith
http://www.kevinruddmp.com/2013/11/to-good-burghers-of-griffith.html

burgher (n.)
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=burgher&allowed_in_frame=0

Etymology of borough, -burg, bourgeois, burglar
https://ewonago.wordpress.com/tag/origin-of-burgher/

Eggcorn: bi-election
http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/english/529/bi-election/


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Episode 217: Homo naledi and Language

The human family got a new branch this week with the appearance of Homo naledi, a new species of human.

But did they have language? And how can we tell from a lot of old bones?

It’s early yet, but linguist Daniel Midgley puts the pieces together on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Jane Hebiton


Show notes

A New Hampshire university’s language guide says students should avoid using the word ‘American’
http://www.businessinsider.com/r-new-hampshire-universitys-language-guide-launches-war-of-words-2015-7?IR=T

University president offended by bias-free language guide
http://college.usatoday.com/2015/07/30/university-president-offended-by-bias-free-language-guide/

Lawmakers May Punish A University For Being Too Politically Correct
http://dailycaller.com/2015/09/04/lawmakers-may-punish-a-university-for-being-too-politically-correct/

Jonathan Turley: University of Tennessee Considers Adopting Gender Neutral Pronouns Like “Ze,” “Hir,” and “Xyr” To Avoid Discrimination
http://jonathanturley.org/2015/08/28/university-of-tennessee-considers-adopting-gender-neutral-pronouns-like-ze-hir-and-xyr-to-avoid-discrimination/

Dennis Baron: The gender-neutral pronoun: after 150 years still an epic fail
https://illinois.edu/blog/view/25/31097

Some notes on singular ‘they’
https://illinois.edu/blog/view/25

Are gender-neutral pronouns the wave of the future?
http://www.grammarly.com/blog/2015/are-gender-neutral-pronouns-the-wave-of-the-future/

Gender-neutral pronouns: The big list
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender-specific_and_gender-neutral_pronouns#Preferred_pronouns

Study: Sperm whales speak in ‘clan dialects’
http://www.treehugger.com/animals/study-sperm-whales-speak-local-dialects.html

Sperm Whales’ Language Reveals Hints of Culture
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/09/150908-sperm-whale-culture-vocalizations-animals-oceans-galapagos-science/

Science says sperm whales live in clans and learn a ‘language’
http://www.businessinsider.com.au/science-says-sperm-whales-live-in-clans-and-learn-a-language-2015-9

Homo naledi: Unanswered questions about the newest human species
https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28152-homo-naledi-unanswered-questions-about-the-newest-human-species/

Homo naledi: New species of human ancestor discovered in South Africa
http://edition.cnn.com/2015/09/10/africa/homo-naledi-human-relative-species/index.html

New species of human relative, Homo naledi, found in underground graveyard in Cradle of Humankind in South Africa
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-10/new-species-of-human-relative-found-in-underground-graveyard/6765466

This Face Changes the Human Story. But How?
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/09/150910-human-evolution-change/

New, Tiny-Brained Human Found in South African Cave
http://news.discovery.com/human/evolution/new-tiny-brained-human-found-in-south-african-cave-150910.htm

Burial, as early as 300,000 years ago
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic_religion

Oxford Dictionaries Online: The quarterly update
http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2015/08/new-words-update-manspreading-mic-drop/

Online Etymology Dictionary: Spill
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=spill

Online Etymology Dictionary: Oust
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=oust

Tony Abbott #PutYourOnionsOut: How the internet reacted
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-34244573

#putoutyouronions on Twitter
https://twitter.com/search?q=%23putoutyouronions&src=typd

White-anting
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_anting

Vale Adrian Frutiger, master of the Univers
http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/master-of-the-univers_swiss-font-legend-adrian-frutiger-dies/41659284


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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


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

Episode 201: The First Language

What was the first language, and what was it like?

Does it still exist? And out of all the languages on earth today, which one is the oldest?

These are tricky questions, and linguists have tricky answers. Linguist Daniel Midgley goes back to basics on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Jane Hebiton


Show notes

What Part of “No, Totally” Don’t You Understand?
http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/what-part-of-no-totally-dont-you-understand

No, Yes, Definitely: On The Rise Of ‘No, Totally’ As Linguistic Quirk
http://www.npr.org/2015/04/12/399210557/the-rise-of-the-no-totally-linguistic-phenomenon

How to Say ‘Yes’ (by Not Saying ‘Yes’)
http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/04/how-to-say-yes-by-not-saying-yes/390129/

People in Northern Sweden have the world’s weirdest way of saying ‘yes’
http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/people-in-northern-sweden-have-the-worlds-weirdest-way-of-saying-yes/story-fnq2oad4-1227187456841

Russian-language version of Apple personal assistant Siri gives ‘homophobic’ responses to questions about gay people
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3040346/Russian-language-version-Apple-s-Siri-gives-homophobic-responses-questions-gay-people.html

“In Soviet Russia Siri questions you”

Until yesterday, Russian Siri was giving out homophobic replies
http://www.theverge.com/2015/4/15/8420763/apple-russian-siri-homophobic-replies

Apple fixes ‘homophobic’ Russian Siri: ‘This emotion should be considered negative’
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/apr/16/apple-fixes-homophobic-russian-siri-emotion-should/

Russia’s Apple monument dismantled after Tim Cook comes out as gay
http://www.digitalspy.com.au/tech/news/a607640/russias-apple-monument-dismantled-after-tim-cook-comes-out-as-gay.html#~paaNX4QTTVCTl0

Barbara Klein Moss: The Search For The First Language
A good rundown of ideas about early language
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barbara-klein-moss/the-search-for-the-first-_b_7011208.html

Another one: The first chapter of God’s Sacred Tongue: Hebrew and the American Imagination by Shalom L. Goldman
http://uncpress.unc.edu/browse/page/372

There was some idle talk about making Hebrew the official language of the USA.
http://www.languagepolicy.net/archives/LLPT1.htm
http://www.pbs.org/speak/seatosea/officialamerican/banenglish/

The Ten Lost Tribes
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Lost_Tribes

Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, borrowed the Hebrew origin story for his work of fiction, The Book of Mormon.
http://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/places/related-articles/mormon-scripture-and-the-lost-tribes-of-israel.aspx

Smith also speculated that the Ten Lost Tribes lived at the North Pole. In a kind of hollow.
http://mormonthink.com/QUOTES/losttribes.htm

This ties right into the ‘Hollow Earth’ theory that was also going around at the time. Smith picked up on a lot of stuff that was going around.
http://www.unmuseum.org/hollow.htm

RationalWiki: Sanskrit is not the first language
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Sanskrit

Nutty stuff from The Vedic Foundation: Sanskrit was the first language, and it’s never changed. Warning: crackpottery.
http://www.thevedicfoundation.org/valuable_resources/Sanskrit-The_Mother_of_All_Languages_partI.htm

MIT Press Release: The rapid rise of human language
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-03/miot-trr033115.php

The paper: The precedence of syntax in the rapid emergence of human language in evolution as defined by the integration hypothesis
http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00271/full

New paper suggests speech developed in a now-familiar form
http://phys.org/news/2015-03-paper-speech-now-familiar.html

Early humans did not mumble and grunt: Language ‘developed rapidly’
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/early-humans-did-not-mumble-grunt-language-developed-rapidly-1494573

The authors think it all comes down to Merge.
We Got Merge: Noam Chomsky on the Cognitive Function that Made Language Evolve
http://www.brainpickings.org/2012/06/20/noam-chomsky-the-science-language/

Linguist List, Ask a Linguist: What’s the oldest language?
http://linguistlist.org/ask-ling/oldest.cfm

Percy Sledge: Soul singer’s link to cricket’s sledging
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-15/percy-sledge-soul-singer-link-to-cricket-sledging/6393694

World Wide Words: Sledging
http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-sle1.htm


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Episode 198: The Geography of Sound (featuring Caleb Everett)

Does climate affect language?

A linguist has found that tone languages appear in regions of high humidity. But the idea that human speech adapts to the environment is not a popular one. So what’s going on?

Daniel Midgley speaks with the author Caleb Everett on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Show notes

App That Aims To Make Books ‘Squeaky Clean’ Draws Ire From Edited Writers
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/03/27/395788461/app-that-aims-to-make-books-squeaky-clean-draws-ire-from-edited-writers

Authors: end to censored versions of books is ‘victory for the world of dirt’
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/mar/27/clean-reader-books-app-censorship-victory-authors-celebrate

Clean Reader: The app that censors rude words from ebooks
http://www.cnet.com/news/clean-reader-the-app-that-censors-rude-words-from-ebooks/

Jennifer Porter: “My Clean Reader App Experience” Hilarious!
http://www.romancenovelnews.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1167:my-clean-reader-app-experience&Itemid=53

Some languages don’t have syllables: Larry Hyman on the universality of the syllable
http://dlc.hypotheses.org/263

The idea of syllables doesn’t work with some Native American languages
The Languages of Native North America
Salish Languages and Linguistics: Theoretical and Descriptive Perspectives

Linguists didn’t accept Everett’s first attempt on this theme. See “Ejectives, High Altitudes, and Grandiose Linguistic Hypotheses”
http://languagesoftheworld.info/geolinguistics/ejectives-high-altitudes-grandiose-linguistic-hypotheses.html

Everett pressed the point: “A return to ejectives at high altitude”
http://scholar.googleusercontent.com/scholar?q=cache:_Xu2id2MHQ0J:scholar.google.com/&hl=en&as_sdt=2005&sciodt=0,5

Long article with lots of background: “Correlational Studies in Typological and Historical Linguistics”
http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/pubman/item/escidoc:2071367:4/component/escidoc:2071365/Ladd_roberts_dediu.pdf

Everett’s new paper: “Climate, vocal folds, and tonal languages: Connecting the physiological and geographic dots”
http://m.pnas.org/content/112/5/1322.abstract

Everett talks about the paper
http://serious-science.org/news/2152

Post in Replicated Typo: “Tone and Humidity”
http://www.replicatedtypo.com/tone-and-humidity/10207.html

Other linguists aren’t convinced. Here’s the interview with Ben Zimmer and Geoffrey Nunberg.
http://www.mprnews.org/story/2015/03/10/language-words

You can look at the data for tone in the World Atlas of Linguistic Structures. Lots of other data, too.
http://wals.info/feature/13A#1/6/142

Sweden will make a gender-neutral pronoun official by adding it to the dictionary
http://qz.com/369725/sweden-will-make-a-gender-neutral-pronoun-official-by-adding-it-to-the-dictionary/

Epenthesis
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epenthesis

About every dictionary in the world has ‘whale’ as one syllable.
Hey, look, Em: it’s even got “hwayl”.
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/whale

The ‘prayer hands’ emoji changed in the latest iPhone update and people are freaking out
http://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-prayer-hands-emoji-is-changing-2015-3

Emojipedia: Person With Folded Hands
http://emojipedia.org/person-with-folded-hands/

Gawker: No, the Praying Hands Emoji Is Not a “High Five”
http://gawker.com/no-the-praying-hands-emoji-is-not-a-high-five-1613936693


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