Category: language innovation

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


Show tunes

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

Image credit: https://www.shh.mpg.de/608548/creole-languages

Episode 271: Words of the Year 2016

Was 2016 a dumpster fire 🗑🔥? Or was it just fire 🔥?

It’s time to look back at the words that defined our time, enlivened our speech, and zeited our geist in the previous year.

Daniel, Ben, and Kylie are staying woke on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Kylie Sturgess


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Episode 271: Words of the Year 2016 [128 kbps]

Cutting Room Floor 271: Words of the Year 2016


Show notes

Sussex University to use gender neutral pronouns as students request greater respect for transgender
http://www.independent.co.uk/student/news/sussex-university-gender-neutral-pronouns-transgender-lgbt-rights-brighton-sexuality-politics-a7505671.html

BANSGENDER Students’ union asks members not to use ‘he’ or ‘she’ without asking first as they don’t want to assume gender
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2510504/students-ban-using-offensive-he-and-she-pronouns-in-meetings-and-emails-as-they-dont-want-to-assume-gender/

Student union asks members to use ‘they’ instead of ‘he’ and ‘she’- because they ‘don’t want to make assumptions about gender’
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4079694/Student-union-bans-use-don-t-want-make-assumptions-gender.html

Oxford University students ‘told to use gender neutral pronoun ze’
http://www.independent.co.uk/student/news/oxford-university-students-gender-neutral-pronouns-peter-tatchell-student-union-ze-xe-a7470196.html

Oxford student union denies telling students to use gender-neutral pronoun
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/dec/13/oxford-student-union-denies-telling-students-to-use-gender-neutral-pronoun

No, Oxford University isn’t ‘banning’ the use of Mr and Mrs prefixes
http://thetab.com/uk/2016/12/19/no-oxford-university-isnt-banning-using-mr-mrs-prefixes-28595

Fear of New Pronouns (U Tenn)
https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/09/08/u-tennessee-withdraws-guide-pronouns-preferred-some-transgender-people

You can be fined for not calling people ‘ze’ or ‘hir,’ if that’s the pronoun they demand that you use
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/05/17/you-can-be-fined-for-not-calling-people-ze-or-hir-if-thats-the-pronoun-they-demand-that-you-use/

U of T professor’s stand against genderless pronouns draws fire
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/u-of-t-professors-stand-against-genderless-pronouns-draws-fire/article32303037/

U of T professor attacks political correctness, says he refuses to use genderless pronouns
http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/u-of-t-professor-attacks-political-correctness-in-video-refuses-to-use-genderless-pronouns

University of Michigan Professors Will Face Disciplinary Action for Ignoring ‘Preferred Pronouns’
http://heatst.com/culture-wars/university-of-michigan-professors-will-face-disciplinary-action-for-ignoring-preferred-pronouns/

Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 is post-truth
https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/word-of-the-year/word-of-the-year-2016

M-W: Word of the Year 2016: Surreal
https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/word-of-the-year-2016

Dictionary.com’s 2016 Word of the Year: Xenophobia
http://blog.dictionary.com/xenophobia/

Top 10 Collins Words of the Year 2016: Brexit
https://www.collinsdictionary.com/word-lovers-blog/new/top-10-collins-words-of-the-year-2016,323,HCB.html

Democracy sausage snags Word of the Year as smashed avo, shoey lose out
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-14/democracy-sausage-snags-word-of-the-year/8117684

2016 Word of the Year is dumpster fire, as voted by American Dialect Society (Press release)
http://www.americandialect.org/wp-content/uploads/2016-Word-of-the-Year-PRESS-RELEASE.pdf

“Dumpster fire” is 2016 American Dialect Society word of the year
http://www.americandialect.org/dumpster-fire-is-2016-american-dialect-society-word-of-the-year

How ‘Dumpster Fire’ Became 2016’s Word of the Year
https://www.wired.com/2017/01/word-of-year-dumpster-fire/

The American Dialect Society’s word of the year is “dumpster fire”
https://qz.com/880501/2016s-word-of-the-year-is-dumpster-fire-beating-out-post-truth-deplorables-cuck-woke-and-slay-for-the-american-dialect-societys-title/

Dumpster Fire Is 2016’s Word Of The Year Because Even Linguists Are Over It
http://www.refinery29.com/2017/01/135191/dumpster-fire-word-of-the-year-2016-american-dialect-society

‘Dumpster Fire’ Is the American Dialect Society’s 2016 Word of the Year
http://time.com/4627056/dumpster-fire-2016-word-of-the-year/

It’s official — the 2016 US Word of the Year is ‘Dumpster fire’
http://www.businessinsider.com.au/2016-word-of-the-year-is-dumpster-fire-2017-1

How Old Is ‘Gaslighting’?
http://www.chronicle.com/blogs/linguafranca/2017/01/12/how-old-is-gaslight/

10 Things I’ve Learned About Gaslighting As An Abuse Tactic
http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/08/things-wish-known-gaslighting/

This Millennial Rant Deserves A Trophy For Being Most Wrong
http://www.cracked.com/blog/that-anti-millennial-rant-bs-cracked-destroys-meme/

Who You Calling ‘Snowflake’?
http://www.chronicle.com/blogs/linguafranca/2016/12/04/who-you-calling-snowflake/

The myth of millennial entitlement was created to hide their parents’ mistakes
https://qz.com/720456/the-myth-of-millennial-entitlement-was-created-to-hide-their-parents-mistakes/

How ‘woke’ went from black activist watchword to teen internet slang
http://fusion.net/story/252567/stay-woke/

The term ‘fake news’ is quickly losing meaning in the Trump era
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/the-term-fake-news-is-quickly-losing-meaning-in-the-trump-era/article33617746/

Will ‘Kompromat’ Make It into the Dictionary?
https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/what-does-kompromat-mean

Report alleges Donald Trump paid for ‘golden showers’ in Russia and Twitter cannot contain itself
http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/news-and-views/social/report-alleges-donald-trump-paid-for-golden-showers-in-russia-and-twitter-cannot-contain-itself-20170111-gtpcw7.html

#GoldenShowers Trends on Twitter Following Unverified Trump Intel Dump
http://www.mediaite.com/online/goldenshowers-trends-on-twitter-following-unverified-trump-intel-dump/

The Word of the Year for 2016 Isn’t a Word. It’s a Number.
http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2016/12/14/_2016_s_word_of_the_year_isn_t_a_word_it_s_a_number.html

China’s Zhou Youguang, father of Pinyin writing system, dies aged 111
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-38621697


Show tunes

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

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/


Show tunes

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

Image credit: https://pioneerwoman.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/eggcorn1.jpg

Episode 203: Modern Australian Usage (featuring Nicholas Hudson)

When writers need advice, they turn to editors, and Nicholas Hudson is a formidable presence in the editing world.

But how does his advice stack up linguistically? And what do Australian writers need to know?

Author and editor Nicholas Hudson speaks with linguist Daniel Midgley on this episode of Talk the Talk.


Listen to this episode

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Promo with Em Burrows


Show notes

Ocky, plonko and shornie… There are 2000 new Aussie words in the Oxford Dictionaries
http://www.news.com.au/national/ocky-plonko-and-shornie-there-are-2000-new-aussie-words-in-the-oxford-dictionaries/story-fncynjr2-1227327980081

How the language you speak changes your view of the world
https://theconversation.com/how-the-language-you-speak-changes-your-view-of-the-world-40721

Think your world view is fixed? Learn another language and you’ll think differently
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/27/world-view-learn-another-language

German doesn’t have a progressive aspect
http://german.about.com/library/anfang/blanfang04b.htm

Comment thread on Reddit
http://www.reddit.com/r/linguistics/comments/34aefq/question_about_recent_study_into_bilingual_world/

Nicholas Hudson: Bio
http://editorsvictoria.org/publications/9-uncategorised/113-nick-hudson-awarded-1995

Modern Australian Usage
http://www.allenandunwin.com/default.aspx?page=94&book=9781760111557

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
http://www.dictionaryofobscuresorrows.com

Zenosyne: The Sense That Time Keeps Going Faster
http://www.dictionaryofobscuresorrows.com/post/117535941935/life-is-short-and-life-is-long-but-not-in-that

Wiktionary: Zeno
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Zeno

Wiktionary: Syne
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/syne

Why Time Feels Like It Passes Quicker as You Get Older
http://lifehacker.com/why-time-feels-like-it-passes-quicker-as-you-get-older-1536099982

Why Time Goes Faster as You Get Older
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201004/why-time-goes-faster-you-get-older


Show tunes

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

Image credit: http://www.allenandunwin.com/default.aspx?page=94&book=9781760111557

Episode 135: Language Detective (featuring Sali Tagliamonte)

Is the Internet killing English?

How is English changing?

For tough questions like these, you need a linguistic detective. Luckily, we found one.

Linguist Daniel Midgley has a chat to sociolinguist Sali Tagliamonte on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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This show was a real role reversal because I was in the chair, operating the deck, and Ben was sitting in my usual seat. But I think you’ll find we got used to it.

We were talking to Sali Tagliamonte, who’s a sociolinguist from the University of Toronto. Not only do we hose down the idea that English is in danger of its speakers, we also talk about how language is different depending on who you are, who you’re talking to, what you’re talking about, and of course what communication medium you’re using. Wow — and yet somehow we manage.


Show notes

“Twerk Fail”: A prank by Jimmy Kimmel which was anything but haphazard. Or is that half-hazard? He says it at 0:05.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSJMoH7tnvw

Sali Tagliamonte’s home page
http://individual.utoronto.ca/tagliamonte/index.html

She studies language on the Internet
http://www.thestar.com/life/2013/05/09/technology_shortens_language_but_the_meaning_stays.html

and English in Toronto
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/03/07/like_whatever_eh_u_of_t_prof_tracks_evolution_of_canadian_english_across_generations.html

and in remote areas as part of the Ontario Dialects Project.
http://individual.utoronto.ca/tagliamonte/Ontario_Dialects.html

She’s also studied the convergence of there was and there were. (PDF)
http://individual.utoronto.ca/tagliamonte/Downloads/TagliamonteBaayenFinal2012.pdf

And she’s been elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
http://utlinguistics.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/sali-tagliamonte-elected-fellow-of.html

Young women are language trendsetters
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/28/science/young-women-often-trendsetters-in-vocal-patterns.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

at the forefront of ‘vocal fry’.
http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2013/01/07/what-the-heck-is-vocal-fry/


Show tunes

‘Young Adult’ by the Voltaire Twins
from the album Young Adult

‘Watching the Detectives’ by Elvis Costello
from the album My Aim Is True

Episode 63: Uptalk

Do you use question intonation, even when you’re not asking a question?

You may be an uptalker. Are you communicating something when you use it, or are you just driving people crazy?

UWA linguist Daniel Midgley takes it up a notch on this episode of Talk the Talk.


Listen to this episode

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Show notes

The New York Times article that attracted my attention:
Young Women Often Trendsetters in Vocal Patterns
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/28/science/young-women-often-trendsetters-in-vocal-patterns.html?_r=3

Another good article about it from the Guardian.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2001/sep/21/referenceandlanguages.mattseaton

Some people call uptalk ‘high rising terminals’
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_rising_terminal

But they shouldn’t.
http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/%7Emyl/languagelog/archives/002967.html

Some people think uptalk is annoying.
http://www.diresta.com/Services/Does-Uptalk-Make-You-Upchuck/94-40.aspx
(They never think to ask how the rest of us feel about them.)

But some people don’t think it’s that bad.
http://ricochet.com/main-feed/In-Defense-of-Uptalk-and-Vocal-Fry

It’s an Australian thing.
http://linguistlist.org/issues/4/4-686.html#1

No, wait, it’s a New Zealand thing.
http://books.google.com.au/books?ei=MiZxT8j3D_HGmQXKrtm6Dw&id=seq3R-NfhLgC&dq=New+Zealand+ways+of+Speaking+English&q=intonation#v=snippet&q=intonation&f=false

George W. Bush used uptalk.
http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/002708.html

Julia Gillard, not so much.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qihAbtd9yAo

Language Log is a great place to find out more about this.
http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=568

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