Category: that’s not language (page 1 of 2)

Episode 259: Does Your Dog Understand You? (featuring Monica)

Can our furry friends understand what we’re saying?

Before the Talk the Talk team can say no (like every other time), a very special listener wants us to consider the case for animals and language.

Listener Monica speaks with Daniel, Ben, and Kylie on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Scott Quigg


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Show notes

First Aboriginal female lower house MP Linda Burney’s moving maiden speech
http://www.news.com.au/national/politics/first-aboriginal-female-lower-house-mp-linda-burneys-moving-maiden-speech/news-story/f59808d73efe7b17b3748de43635d53a

Linda Burney (ALP-Barton) – Maiden Speech
http://australianpolitics.com/2016/08/31/linda-burney-alp-barton-maiden-speech.html

Watch: Linda Burney includes Wiradjuri song as part of maiden speech
http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/article/2016/08/31/watch-linda-burney-includes-wiradjuri-song-part-maiden-speech

Ethnologue: Wiradhuri
http://www.ethnologue.com/language/wrh

Our Mother Tongue: Wiradjuri
https://open.abc.net.au/explore/22207

The Australian National Dictionary
http://australiannationaldictionary.com.au

Do you know a Bunji from a Boorie? Meet our dictionary’s new Indigenous words
https://theconversation.com/do-you-know-a-bunji-from-a-boorie-meet-our-dictionarys-new-indigenous-words-63993

WA linguist welcomes Indigenous words in Australian National Dictionary
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-24/wa-linguist-welcomes-indigenous-words-added-to-dictionary/7778316

We compared the new words in the Australian and Oxford dictionaries, and now we don’t know if we’re Arthur or Martha
http://qz.com/765207/we-compared-the-new-words-in-the-australian-and-oxford-dictionaries-and-now-we-dont-know-if-were-arthur-or-martha/

Dogs understand both vocabulary and intonation of human speech
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-08/aaft-dub082916.php

Dogs Process Language Like Us, but What Do They Understand?
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/dog-spies/dogs-process-language-like-us-but-what-do-they-understand/

Dogs really do understand human language, study suggests
http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/dogs-language-1.3740980

Neural mechanisms for lexical processing in dogs
http://science.sciencemag.org/content/353/6303/1030

Vagenda of manocide: our Facebook post
https://www.facebook.com/rtrfmtalkthetalk/posts/1459115720781882

14064275_10210351020396968_4851477356195484782_n

V of M: Card for Magic – the Gathering
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153616719311568&set=a.45056011567.67220.522001567&type=3&theater

14021690_10153616719311568_5730992708675412802_n

‘Vagenda of Manocide’ URL Redirects to Hillary Clinton Campaign Site
http://www.thewrap.com/vagenda-of-manocide-url-redirects-to-hillary-clinton-campaign-site/

How the ‘Vagenda of Manocide’ meme turned into a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton
http://www.dailydot.com/layer8/hillary-clinton-vagenda-fundraiser/

Is Vagenda Of Manocide A Metal Band Yet?
http://www.vocativ.com/353841/vagenda-of-manocide-hillary-clinton/


Show tunes

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

Image credit: https://www.sciencenews.org/sites/default/files/main/articles/ls_fMRI-dog_feat_free.jpg

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

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

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

Episode 237: Hinglish (featuring Sana Bharadwaj)

Hinglish. It’s not Hindi. It’s not English. So what is it?

It’s a hybrid language spoken by about 350 million Indian people. And it’s getting bigger all the time. But what’s it like, and what function does it have for its users?

Linguist and Hinglish speaker Sana Bharadwaj talks to Daniel, Ben, and Kylie on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Show notes

What can wolf dialects say about human language?
http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2016/0209/What-can-wolf-dialects-say-about-human-language

The language of wolves: study finds howling ‘dialects’
http://www.slashgear.com/the-language-of-wolves-study-finds-howling-dialects-09426237/

Wolf species have distinctive howling repertoires functioning like dialects, Study finds
http://nhv.us/content/16024253-wolf-species-have-distinctive-howling-repertoires-functioning

Mysterious chimpanzee behaviour may be evidence of ‘sacred’ rituals
https://theconversation.com/mysterious-chimpanzee-behaviour-may-be-evidence-of-sacred-rituals-55512

Mysterious chimpanzee behaviour could be ‘sacred rituals’ and show that chimps believe in god
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/mysterious-chimpanzee-behaviour-could-be-sacred-rituals-and-show-that-chimps-believe-in-god-a6911301.html

Gorillas observed ‘singing and humming’ during mealtime: study
http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2016/s4415568.htm

Wild gorillas hum during dinner.
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/seriouslyscience/2016/03/01/wild-gorillas-hum-when-theyre-eating-tasty-food/#.VtrkGMf9Dqo

8 Hinglish phrases made and used by Indians, only!
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/education/story/8-hinglish-phrases-made-and-used-by-indians-only/1/414761.html

The rise and rise of Hinglish in India
https://theconversation.com/the-rise-and-rise-of-hinglish-in-india-53476

Will we all be speaking Hinglish one day?
https://www.britishcouncil.org/voices-magazine/will-we-all-be-speaking-hinglish-one-day

The Hinglish Project: Typeface
http://www.thehinglishproject.com

How Donald Drumpf & The “John Oliver Effect” Have Already Influenced The Presidential Election
http://www.bustle.com/articles/147171-how-donald-drumpf-the-john-oliver-effect-have-already-influenced-the-presidential-election

Someone replaced Donald Trump’s eyes with his mouth and he looks the same
http://mashable.com/2016/02/26/trump-lip-eyes/

We Asked Facial Symmetry Experts About the Science Behind Having a “Punchable Face”
http://mic.com/articles/135809/we-asked-facial-symmetry-experts-about-the-science-behind-having-a-punchable-face#.5GNd6Bhp7

Neurologist explains why it’s hard to look at Ted Cruz’s creepy ‘unsettling’ face
http://www.rawstory.com/2016/02/neurologist-explains-why-its-hard-to-look-at-ted-cruzs-creepy-unsettling-face/

World Wide Words: Zemblanity
http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-zem1.htm

15 Crazy Examples Of Insanely Ableist Language
http://thoughtcatalog.com/parker-marie-molloy/2013/10/15-crazy-examples-of-insanely-ableist-language/

Omniglot: Pitman Initial Teaching Alphabet (i.t.a.)
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/ita.htm

A passage in the Initial Teaching Alphabet
couboi-smaull-text


Show tunes

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

Image credit: http://www.zackstv.com/2012_10_01_archive.html

Episode 227: Are Emoji Words?

Can an emoji be a word?

Oxford Dictionaries thinks so — they chose one as their Word of the Year. And this has language purists fuming. But what exactly is a word?

Linguist Daniel Midgley explains on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Kylie Sturgess


Show notes

The Linguistics Roadshow: Dialect Maps!
http://lingroadshow.com/resources/englishes-in-australia/vocabulary/mapping-words-around-australia/

Optus removes Arabic ads from shopping centre after alleged threat to staff
http://www.smh.com.au/business/media-and-marketing/optus-removes-arabic-ads-from-shopping-centre-after-alleged-threat-to-staff-20151116-gl0njn.html

This Phone Company Had To Explain What Islam Was To Angry Customers
http://www.buzzfeed.com/bradesposito/optus-had-to-take-down-its-arabic-posters-after-people-kept#.siJ8qAKp4

Islamophobia in US: The Arabic language
http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/civil-rights/237556-islamophobia-in-us-the-arabic-language

Philly Passengers Pulled off Flight for Speaking Arabic
http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/national-international/Philly-Pizza-Shop-Owner-Profiled-Southwest-Airlines-351944441.html

Forget French and Mandarin – Arabic is the language to learn
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/forget-french-and-mandarin-arabic-is-the-language-to-learn-10382690.html

Arabic is fastest-growing language at U.S. colleges (2010)
http://www.thegazette.com/2010/03/25/arabic-is-fastest-growing-language-at-u-s-colleges

Commentary: Teach Arabic in public schools
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-arabic-language-public-schools-perspec-0406-20150403-story.html

Teaching Arabic is no cause for fear
http://edition.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/02/10/navarrette.arabic.curriculum/

Alabama: Residents Fear Teaching Arabic To Students Is A Threat To Christianity
http://www.loonwatch.com/2013/10/alabama-residents-fear-teaching-arabic-to-students-is-a-threat-to-christianity/

Here’s an interesting account of what it was like for British Navy soldiers to be learning Russian in the 1950s.
http://centaur.reading.ac.uk/25314/2/Centaur_russia.pdf

Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2015 is… 😂
http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2015/11/word-of-the-year-2015-emoji/

— Oxford Dictionaries (@OxfordWords) November 17, 2015

Oxford Dictionaries Chooses ‘Pictograph’ as Word of the Year
http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/oxford-dictionaries-chooses-pictograph-as-word-of-the-year/225933/

Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year is an emoji, and that is awesome
http://news.nationalpost.com/arts/oxford-dictionarys-word-of-the-year-not-only-reflects-the-current-linguistic-landscape-but-also-the-times-in-which-we-live

Emoji versus the rest
http://www.livemint.com/Home-Page/nCilLJGgCT0A7hT8rjt7rO/Emoji-versus-the-rest.html

Scholarly reflections on ’emoji’
http://blog.oup.com/2015/11/scholarly-reflections-on-emoji-word-of-the-year/

Are Emojis Words? Science And Language Experts Explain.
http://thinkprogress.org/culture/2015/11/20/3724423/an-emoji-investigation/

An emoji was named the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year and people want to leave planet Earth
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/12000092/An-emoji-was-named-the-Oxford-Dictionaries-Word-of-the-Year-and-people-want-to-leave-planet-Earth.html

Oxford’s Word of the Year…isn’t a word
http://www.skynews.com.au/culture/offbeat/2015/11/17/oxford-s-word-of-the-year—isn-t-a-word.html

Vyv Evans – Signs of our times: why emoji can be even more powerful than words
https://theconversation.com/signs-of-our-times-why-emoji-can-be-even-more-powerful-than-words-50893

Google: word definition
https://www.google.com.au/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=word+definition&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&gfe_rd=cr&ei=ho5KVvWwJqLu8wfomYGQCw&gws_rd=cr

Over time, words in English have had a tendency to compound.

phonological word
http://grammar.about.com/od/pq/g/Phonological-Word.htm

emojitracker.com
http://emojitracker.com

Urban Dictionary: Nyorn
NOTE the downvotes! People hate this definition, so it’s probably wrong. But also note the connection to Aboriginal English.
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Nyorn&defid=7088728

Nyorn dard
https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20120821023225AAfkSRn


Show tunes

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

Image credit: http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02946/emoji_2946521b.jpg

Episode 226: Shakespeare in Translation (featuring Migdalia Cruz and Taylor Mac)

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival has commissioned all Shakespeare’s plays to be translated into contemporary English.

But how does one go about updating the words of the Bard? Does this task belong to playwrights, or to linguists?

Linguist Daniel Midgley speaks with playwrights Migdalia Cruz and Taylor Mac on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Kylie Sturgess and Dylan Websdane


Show notes

Your voice! Your story!: English in Western Australia
http://crowdresearch.uwa.edu.au/project/your-voice-your-story-english-in-western-australia/

Speaking giant panda: Secret language decoded as scientists set sights on hi-tech translator
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/speaking-giant-panda-secret-language-decoded-scientists-set-sights-hi-tech-translator-1527345

Scientists say they have decoded ‘panda language’
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/chinese-scientists-say-they-have-decoded-panda-language-a6722651.html

Chimpanzee language claims lost in translation, researchers conclude
http://www.nyu.edu/about/news-publications/news/2015/11/02/chimpanzee-language-claims-lost-in-translation-researchers-conclude.html

Migdalia Cruz
http://www.migdaliacruz.com

Taylor Mac
http://www.taylormac.org/

Oregon Shakespeare Festival
https://www.osfashland.org

OSF: Play On!
https://www.osfashland.org/experience-osf/upcoming/play-on.aspx

Conservative Christians Are Losing Their Minds Because Starbucks Now Has Red Cups
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2015/11/08/conservative-christians-are-losing-their-minds-because-starbucks-now-has-red-cups/

Dunkin’ Donuts stirs Starbucks ‘brew-haha’ with festive holiday cup
http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/dunkin-donuts-stirs-starbucks-brew-haha-festive-holiday-cup

Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2015 is…
http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2015/11/word-of-the-year-2015-emoji/

Oxford’s Word of the Year…isn’t a word

People getting pissy on Twitter and me fighting them.

Show tunes

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

Image credit: http://inklit.weebly.com/uploads/2/6/2/8/26288692/505077349.jpg

Episode 191: Ape Accents

Do apes have accents?

A recent news story claims that chimps learn a “new language” when they move in with other chimps. What’s behind the story? And what exactly are our fellow primates capable of, language wise?

Linguist Daniel Midgley goes ape on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Em Burrows


Show notes

One Man’s Quest to Rid Wikipedia of Exactly One Grammatical Mistake
https://medium.com/backchannel/meet-the-ultimate-wikignome-10508842caad

Why Wikipedia’s grammar vigilante is wrong
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/05/why-wikipedias-grammar-vigilante-is-wrong

Language Log: Can 50,000 Wikipedia edits be wrong?
http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=17636

Language Log: More on the history of comprised of meaning “composed of”
http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=3182

Giraffedata’s manifesto is comprised entirely of misconceptions about how language works.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Giraffedata/comprised_of#Wikipedia_policy

That’s So Gay: Google Fixes Gay Slurs
http://americanlivewire.com/2015-01-28-thats-gay-google-fixes-gay-slurs/

Google Translate MEAT GRINDER turns gay into ‘faggot’, ‘poof’, ‘queen’
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/01/28/google_gay_translation_fail/

Google Fixes Homophobic “Bug” in its Translator
http://www.dailytech.com/Google+Fixes+Homophobic+Bug+in+its+Translator/article37108c.htm

Etymology of <i>camp</i>
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=camp&allowed_in_frame=0

CBBC: “Chimps develop Scottish accents”
http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/31161049

ABC Science: “Chimps have own ‘dialects’ but can learn others”
http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2015/02/06/4175466.htm?site=science&topic=latest

NBC: “Chimps Learn New Language When They Change Locale”
http://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/chimps-learn-new-language-when-they-change-locale-n300776

The actual paper
http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(14)01635-2

Potent Social Learning and Conformity Shape a Wild Primate’s Foraging Decisions
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/340/6131/483

Chimpanzee grunts mean more than you think
http://www.theverge.com/2015/2/6/7985327/chimpanzee-grunts-mean-more-than-you-think

LA Times: “Chimps learn each other’s grunts, but is it language?”
http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-is-human-language-chimp-grunt-20150204-story.html

ABC Science: Chimps ‘talk’ about favourite fruits, best trees
http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2015/01/20/4165321.htm

First example of whispering observed in non-human primates
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/first-example-of-whispering-observed-in-nonhuman-primates-8836601.html

Actual paper: Whisper-like behavior in a non-human primate
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/zoo.21099/abstract

Primate call gives clues to human speech origins
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-22067192

Rare primate’s vocal lip-smacks share features of human speech
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-04/cp-rpv040313.php

Gelada lip smacks and wobbles
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPtcNucxiMg

Terrible headline from ScienceAlert: “A wild-born orangutan has learned to communicate like a human”
http://www.sciencealert.com/a-wild-born-orangutan-has-learned-to-communicate-like-a-human

YouTube video of Tilda
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6kiA3KCf5k

Orangutans Plan Their Trips Like Humans, Tell Others Their Future Travel Routes
http://www.ibtimes.com/orangutans-plan-their-trips-humans-tell-others-their-future-travel-routes-1404478

<i>Mansplain</i> chosen as Macquarie Dictionary’s 2014 word of the year
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-05/mansplain-macquarie-dictionary-2014-word-of-year/6073620

Here’s the Big List (PDF):
https://www.macquariedictionary.com.au/media2/feature_documents/MacquarieWOTY_WordList_2014_2.pdf

“Linguists aren’t language nazis. We’re language hippies.”
http://www.slideshare.net/Jayelem/so-you-know-a-linguist

Ben Harris-Roxas ‏@ben_hr: This perfectly sums up the spill and the coverage of it for me
https://twitter.com/ben_hr/status/563580390942580736/photo/1


Show tunes

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

Image credit: http://www.reuniting.info/images/tam2.jpg

Episode 134: Glossolalia

What is glossolalia?

It’s speaking in tongues, a religious practice that makes some people feel closer to god, and other people feel deeply uncomfortable. Is it the language of angels, or a psychological artefact? And what can linguistics tell us about this manner of speaking?

Linguist Daniel Midgley suspends his disbelief on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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This week was about glossolalia, or speaking in tongues, and I just want to say that for a couple of atheist dudes, we gave the topic a pretty fair shake. We even tried a little glossolalia ourselves, though this was kind of unintentional, and we end up doing that at least once every time we do a taping.


Show notes

T.M. Luhrmann’s article
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/18/opinion/sunday/luhrmann-why-we-talk-in-tongues.html?hp&_r=1&

P.Z. Myers’ response
http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/08/19/glossolalia-is-not-god/

The audio clip is from here.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQ4114XO-Xo

Glossolalia isn’t just a Christian thing, by the way.
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/599257/glossolalia

but not all Christians are into it.
http://www.bible.ca/tongues-defend-manifestions.htm
http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Doctrines/Speaking%20in%20Tongues/demonic.htm

William Samarin’s pioneering linguistic study of glossolalia (PDF)
http://philosophy-religion.info/handouts/pdfs/Samarin-Pages_48-75.pdf

Dawn Heverly’s phonological study (PDF). People don’t use sounds not in their native language.
http://www.gmu.edu/org/lingclub/WP/texts/6_Heverly.pdf

Andrew Newberg’s brain scan study
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/07/health/07brain.html
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-10/uops-lco103006.php

“Holy Laughter”, if you’re into that. Note the falling down on cue.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wn6FF5nhTSs

A skeptical view from the great Skeptics’ Dictionary
http://www.skepdic.com/glossol.html

and another from the Skeptic Tank
http://www.skeptictank.org/files/fw/glossola.htm

A theologian’s view
http://www.frame-poythress.org/linguistic-and-sociological-analyses-of-modern-tongues-speaking-their-contributions-and-limitations/


Show tunes

‘Speaking in Tongues’ by Eagles of Death Metal
from the album Peace Love Death Metal

‘A Million Angels’ by Severed Heads
from the album Since the Accident

Episode 131: Dolphin Names

Dolphins are known for their squeaky calls, but now it appears that these clever mammals of the sea can call each other by name.

What is their communication system like, and how does this compare with human language?

Linguist Daniel Midgley explores undersea linguistics on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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There are two things I really don’t like. One is new age woo, and the other is lazy claims about language being used by animals. This episode has them both! But I managed to keep my calm, dispassionate nature intact. With science!

Here’s the video of the minions. It makes sense if you listen.


Show notes

There’s a little bit of Tagalog in them thar Minions.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nyc4O3RqpA

Looks like Tagalog to me.
http://translate.google.com/?source=osdd#tl/en/nalito%20na

A little more
http://www.philstar.com/entertainment/2013/07/01/960379/minions-can-speak-filipino

The director and voice artist explains.
http://entertainment.inquirer.net/101383/multilingual-minions-take-over-in-despicable-me-2

Benny Lava
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prabhu_Deva

Dolphins appear to use a unique whistle as a name.
NPR: http://www.npr.org/2013/07/22/204462853/we-call-him-flipper-but-what-do-the-dolphins-call-him
NPR2: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/02/20/172538036/researchers-find-that-dolphins-call-each-other-by-name
LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-dolphins-name-signature-whistles-20130722,0,1462053.story
Smithsonian: http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/science/2013/07/do-dolphins-use-whistles-to-call-themselves-by-unique-names/

The full article
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/07/17/1304459110.abstract

Hear some whistles
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/02/dolphin-names/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wired%2Findex+%28Wired%3A+Top+Stories%29

There’s some real dolphin woo out there. Here’s a rank example. Don’t swallow it.
http://www.globalanimal.org/2011/09/11/dolphins-dont-just-squeak-they-speak/50761/

This is a laundry list of all the terrible pseudo-science related to the animal language topic.
http://www.livescience.com/22474-animal-languages-communication.html

Chomsky isn’t too keen on it either
http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/2007—-.htm
http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/us/chomsky.htm

“Dolphin-Assisted Therapy” is pseudo-science
http://www.aeonmagazine.com/nature-and-cosmos/lori-marino-dolphins-are-not-healers/

Dolphins have big brains
http://curiosity.discovery.com/question/dolphin-brains-compare-human-brains

They pass the mirror test
http://earthtrust.org/delbook.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_cognition#Language

and maybe learn things culturally
http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v3/n7/full/ncomms1983.html

Although you could make the same claim about whales
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/13/130425-humpback-whale-culture-behavior-science-animals/

So are they using a language?
http://www.dolphincommunicationproject.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1103&Itemid=285

Probably not, but referring to things is still cool.


Show tunes

‘Girl and the Sea’ by the Presets
from the album Beams

‘Undersea Community’ by the Avalanches
from the album At Last Alone

Episode 110: Brahmin Chant

The Brahmin of Kerala in Southern India are renowned for their ritual of chanting.

Parts of their chants are not in any human language, and yet they still appear to show patterns. But it’s also been claimed that these chants have remained unchanged for thousands of years, and even predate human language. Is that possible?

Linguist Daniel Midgley gets to the facts in this episode of Talk the Talk.


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I love being able to combine skepticism with linguistics, and that’s what Ben Ainslie and I did on this show. We investigated the chanting of some Brahmin in South Kerala, India. It’s been claimed that part of their chants aren’t in any human language, that they may predate human language, and that their closest analogue is birdsong. How do these claims stand up to the facts?

Also, Ben and I have a contest to see who can recite pi to the most places. Find out who wins!


Show notes

Our subject matter comes from the very first episode of “The Story of India”.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DHhPvbaV68

Ritual and Mantras: Rules Without Meaning, by Frits Staal on Google Books.
http://books.google.com.au/books?id=CKLxjjXqAsQC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q=MAntras%20and%20Bird%20songs&f=false

Straight Dope thread on this topic. Always good.
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=616213

Crank alert: This is what fundamentalists think about Sanskrit. Really nutty stuff.
http://www.encyclopediaofauthentichinduism.org/articles/29_the_eternal_perfection.htm

Another crazy page. Did I say Sanskrit started a billion years ago? Silly me. It was closer to two billion. That’s right, about half the age of the earth. Needless to say, there wasn’t any language then.
http://satyavidya.com/aryadharma.htm

Michael Wood admits that perhaps the amazingness of the chant overtook the factuality.
http://www.pbs.org/thestoryofindia/ask/answers_2.html#q3

Some Spanish explorers claimed the New World inhabitants spoke Hebrew.
http://uncpress.unc.edu/browse/page/372


Show tunes

‘Brahminy Kite’ by Caribou
from the album The Milk of Human Kindness

‘The Bird Call and the Sensitive Flame’ by Nick Duffy and the Lilac Time
from the album Sapphire Stylus

Episode 97: Monkey Gone to Heaven

This week saw the death of Dar, a chimpanzee who was taught American Sign Language.

With the passing of more and more of these animals, it’s time to look at the future of ape language research. What was this work intended to prove, anyway? And are these apes really communicating, or are they just doing complicated tricks for treats?

Linguist Daniel Midgley swings in for this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Click here for more options: How to listen to Talk the Talk


Show notes

Dar the chimpanzee has passed away.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2238459/Dar-chimpanzee-learned-sign-language-dies-aged-36.html
http://www.king5.com/community/blogs/the-pet-dish/Central-Washington-University-chimp-who-learned-sign-language-dies-180759431.html

From the Friends of Washoe
http://www.friendsofwashoe.org/

A good skeptical rundown of ape language projects, from Skeptic Magazine, no less.
http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/07-10-31/

Herbert Terrace concluded that Nim Chimpsky’s signs were just imitations.
http://kanzi.bvu.edu/Nimvideos2.html

Noam Chomsky has some characteristically tart comments about Nim and ape language projects.
http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/2007—-.htm

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