Talk the Talk
A show about linguistics, the science of language, on RTRFM 92.1 community radio, Perth.
395: Outed or Misgendered (with Cedar Brown)Feb 25, 2020 47:09
"What's your pronoun?" Good question.
Many people would like to be more supportive of trans and non-binary people. In general, it's helpful when cis people disclose their pronouns, but there's a little more to this story.
Daniel and Ben are talking to researcher Cedar Brown about pronouns on this episode of Talk the Talk.
394: What’s Your Pronoun? (with Dennis Baron)Feb 18, 2020 50:07
It's been a big year for singular they, but there's more than one pronoun in town.
What invented pronouns have there been? How far back does singular they go? And why did some people kick up a fuss about singular you?
We're talking to pronoun expert Dennis Baron on this episode of Talk the Talk.
393: Push and Pull (Live Q&A)Feb 12, 2020 30:03
Are there any pairs of words that you constantly get confused? They're the ones where you have to think for a second to get them straight.
Why do our brains have this problem? What about these words makes them so confusable?
We're listening to your responses on this episode of Talk the Talk.
392: Your Voice (with Jane Setter)Feb 7, 2020 48:23
Your voice is your ability to represent your point of view.
So which voices are getting validated? Why are certain voices getting repressed? How do we end accent prejudice?
Daniel and Ben are speaking to Jane Setter, author of Your Voice Speaks Volumes, on this episode of Talk the Talk.
391: Words of the Year 2019Jan 28, 2020 50:22
It's Word of the Year time, and there are more words than ever before.
We bring you the results from the yearly American Dialect Society vote, and from dictionaries around the world on this episode of Talk the Talk.
390: Words of the Week of the Year 2019 (Live Q&A)Dec 16, 2019 46:03
Just about every week, we bring you the Words of the Week. Which word from 2019 will listeners vote to make Talk the Talk's Word of the Year? And which words did we miss?
389: Mailbag of PronounsDec 4, 2019 54:38
Again we open the Mailbag and answer our listeners' questions.What do lisps sound like in languages without the 'th' sound? How do gender-neutral terms work in languages with gendered pronouns? Do languages get more efficient over time? 'One-third' looks like 'three', so why doesn't 'half' look like 'two'? Does any poetic meter mimic the "natural rhythm" of human speech? How do children acquire humour?
All on this episode of Talk the Talk.
388: Lies, All Lies (with Georgina Heydon, Heather Wilson, and Amanda Hamilton-Hollaway)Nov 26, 2019 39:18
Can you tell when someone is lying? You may think you have a sense about this, but the answers may surprise you.
We're talking to forensic linguist Professor Georgina Heydon on this episode of Talk the Talk.
387: The Language of Emotion (with Maïa Ponsonnet)Nov 19, 2019 01:06:48
Language and culture are tightly bound. Or are they?
Many speakers of the Australian language Dalabon are shifting to Kriol. But the two languages function in very different ways. Will speakers be able to translate relevant concepts over, despite linguistic differences?
We're talking to Dr Maïa Ponsonnet on this episode of Talk the Talk.
386: English Needs These Idioms (Live Q&A)Nov 12, 2019 27:44
If you speak a language besides English, you know that there are some idioms that English is missing, or just doesn't do as well. We want to hear them on this episode of Talk the Talk.
385: You Look Like a Thing (with Janelle Shane)Nov 6, 2019 53:53
Artificial intelligence is everywhere, and that freaks some people out. But the real problem is that AIs may not be smart enough.
Whether you're concerned about the future of human/computer interaction, or you just want a fun description of machine learning algorithms, there's a new book you should read.
We're talking with author Janelle Shane on this episode of Talk the Talk.
384: Mailbag of WelcomeOct 30, 2019 55:29
Welcome to our mailbag, where all the really great questions come from.
- Why do we say "You're welcome"?
- How can 'varelse' mean 'a being' in Swedish, but 'a room' in Danish?
- In sci-fi, what happens when the universal translator breaks?
- Is there any reason to study conlangs?
- How can you overcome problems with finding the right word?
- Is the word 'datatainment' for real?
All will be answered on this episode of Talk the Talk.
383: Decolonising the Archive (with Emma Murphy and Caroline Hughes)Oct 22, 2019 54:49
Communities need language. But a lot of the documentation is locked up in the archives.
So now linguists are teaming up with community researchers to demystify linguistic research, so that community researchers can take this work to their communities to help them speak the language.
Emma Murphy of Living Languages and community researcher Caroline Hughes are talking to Daniel, Hedvig, and Ben on this episode of Talk the Talk.
382: There's No Enhance Button (with Helen Fraser)Oct 15, 2019 54:49
We hear what we expect to hear.
That's a problem in court, where covert audio recordings are often unclear. Who decides what goes into the transcript that lawyers, judges, and juries will see?
We're talking to Dr Helen Fraser about forensic transcription on this episode of Talk the Talk.
381: A Hard Spell (Live Q&A)Oct 8, 2019 46:39
What words do you constantly misspell? Are there any that make you stop and think every time you type them? We put out the call to our listeners for spelling bugbears, and we were inundated with responses. So we turned it into a top ten list. Along the way, we ask: why are these words so difficult? And are there any tips to help you spell them correctly? We try to help on this episode of Talk the Talk.
380: Emoji Innovations (Live Q&A)Oct 2, 2019 41:14
For this episode, we want to hear about the emoji usages or combinations that are unique to you and your social network. We'll unearth new patterns, or at least shine a light on the variability of digital communication. We're taking your comments live on this episode of Talk the Talk.
379: Indigenous Signed Languages (with Rodney Adams and Steph Tisdell)Sep 25, 2019 57:00
Indigenous languages matter. They're part of Australia's cultural heritage, and they're a way for Aboriginal people to communicate, and connect.
This includes Indigenous signed languages. In the push to recognise minority languages, Indigenous signed languages deserve some attention of their own.
Signed language researcher Rodney Adams is telling us all about these languages on this episode of Talk the Talk.
378: Bugger All (with Isabelle Burke)Sep 17, 2019 01:03:06
You might do nothing. You might do zilch. But if you do bugger all, you're really doing the minimum.
But wait — how did the phrase bugger all become a negative, in the complete absence of any negative words?
There are larger forces at work here, and Dr Isabelle Burke joins us to explain them on this episode of Talk the Talk.
377: Mailbag of UncomfortablenessSep 11, 2019 53:03
The mail keeps coming, and we keep answering.Is English really a dialect of Chinese? Why do people say “uncomfortableness”, when we already have “discomfort”? Are "ankh” and “anchor” related? How does learning traditional languages help communities? Is there a better Noongar word for “white fella” if you’re not a fellow Is “mire” one syllable or two? Why do people say they're “finna” do something? Where does the word “Carlton" come from? And listeners report back on “yeah no” in other languages.
All this and more on this episode of Talk the Talk.
376: Language Hotspots (with Xia Hua)Sep 4, 2019 58:26
Talking to mathematical biologist Xia Hua about why some places are more linguistically diverse, and how this relates to biological diversity.
News: Variation in individual vocal tracts may influence vowels over generations.
Indigenous Australian Word of the Week: wominjeka "welcome", from Boon Wurrung (Victoria)
Words of the Week: prorogation, bedbug, literally.
375: Community Size Matters (with Limor Raviv)Aug 27, 2019 49:30
Why are some languages more systematic than others?
We often hear about the irregularities in English, and other languages have them as well. But new work shows that systematicity in a language is influenced by the number of speakers in the community. How does that work?
Language researcher Limor Raviv joins Daniel, Ben, and Hedvig on this episode of Talk the Talk.
374: Polari, Britain's Lost Gay Language (with Paul Baker)Aug 8, 2019 01:10:47
When homosexuality was illegal, a secret language brought people together.
In 1960s England, Polari was a creative blend of Italian, Romani, rhyming slang, and backslang, used among the LGBT community. It could be used to communicate, or to identify someone as a member of the group. Now Polari has been lost, even as some of its words have crossed over into mainstream English.
We're talking to Professor Paul Baker about this lost language on this episode of Talk the Talk.
373: Mailbag of ProcessesAug 1, 2019 01:07:02
We're opening up the Mailbag for another episode.
Are sneezes written the same way everywhere?
Do all languages have rhyming name games?
Can all languages do all the things?
Why does "this and that" sound normal, but "that and this" sounds weird?
Why are people saying "process-eez"?
And what's with "yeah nah"?
All these and more on this episode of Talk the Talk.
372: Because Internet (with Gretchen McCulloch)Jul 23, 2019 01:02:37
The rules are changing. Here's the manual.
Gretchen McCulloch's book Because Internet is a look at how people use language on the net to communicate and to show identity. How do people laugh online? How is emoji like gesture?
It's a deep dive into internet language on this episode of Talk the Talk.
371: -nado, -holic, -pocalypse: Combining Forms (Live Q&A)Jul 16, 2019 45:49
Take a tornado. Add some sharks. You've got a sharknado.
But it's not just sharks that can leap out of their normal context. It looks like "-nado" is jumping free and becoming a combining form — a part of a word that is becoming its own productive morpheme, as in "firenado".
What others are there? We'll find out on this episode of Talk the Talk.
370: Named Wrong (Live Q&A)Jul 9, 2019 29:36
Names are what they are, and as long as they work, they work.
But sometimes in the history of naming, people name things in a manner inapt to their nature or origin. So what's the story behind words like atom, peanut, and strawberry?
Daniel is unravelling these stories and more on this episode of Talk the Talk.
369: The Grammarian Is In (with Ellen Jovin)Jun 26, 2019 01:22:06
Talking to Ellen Jovin, author and proprietor of Grammar Table, where she dispenses face-to-face grammar advice to the citizens of New York City.
News: Genius used a clever technique to catch Google copying its lyrics. A UK primary school is putting the word "like" in word jail.
Indigenous Australian Word of the Week: winangala "to listen, know, love" in Gamilaraay (QLD).
Words of the Week: concentration camp, fishwrapping, shibbolethnonym.
368: PoetryJun 19, 2019 01:10:28
Poetry isn't (just) enjoyable, it can be useful.
It can help us with language learning and memorisation, and help us in historical linguistics. And even computers are getting into poetry generation, probably because they want to learn the secret of human coolness.
We're snapping our fingers on this episode of Talk the Talk.
367: Your Inner Prescriptivist (with Alyssa Severin)Jun 12, 2019 01:05:41
Talking with Dr Alyssa Severin about changing minds on prescriptivism.
In the news: Bees can associate arbitrary symbols with numbers.
Indigenous Australian Word of the Week with Peter Swanton: the name of the language Gamilaraay
Words of the Week: mentrification, joyplot, begpacking
366: Oxbows (Live Q&A)Jun 5, 2019 40:54
Akimbo. Throes. Tizzy.
Some words only appear in limited contexts. But what do they mean? The fascinating histories of these words can tell us more about how English works — and language in general.
We’re in tatters — or is that smithereens? — on this episode of Talk the Talk.
365: Difficult Words (with Jane Solomon)May 28, 2019 57:12
Talking with lexicographer Jane Solomon about her book, The Dictionary of Difficult Words.
News: Why the latest Voynich Manuscript decipherment is not a thing. But ancient beer is.
Indigenous Australian Word of the Week: arri-m-kuk-yi-durnde (Gunwinggu), spoken by Janice Nalorlman
Words of the Week: ha-ha (fence), mayochup
364: Mailbag of R-R-R-RMay 21, 2019 54:40
The questions never stop, and neither do we.
What's the past tense of yeet, and why is English past tense so strange?
Can etymology help you spell rhythm?
Should French teachers have to speak with a Parisian accent?
Do's and don'ts? Dos and don't's? Where do the apostrophes go?
Why do some people use a trilled [r], when their language doesn't?
Is there a way to tell a language from a dialect once and for all?
Are there places where men and women have to speak differently?
Is word amnesia contagious?
We take all the questions on this episode of Talk the Talk.
363: Talking Race (with Jessi Grieser)May 14, 2019 51:35
What happens to language when newcomers move in?
Language isn't just for communication — it also signals membership in a group, and this is especially clear in a gentrifying community in Washington DC. Black residents are using African-American English to stake out their place and show a sense of belonging in a changing neighbourhood.
Dr Jessi Grieser, author of Talking Place, Speaking Race joins Daniel on this episode of Talk the Talk.
362: Gesture in MindMay 7, 2019 53:06
New research on gesture and mind. People handle inference about the same, whether verbal or gestural. When you see a rude middle finger, your brain isn't primed to think about the organ that gave rise to that expression.
News: The Yolngu Sign Language Dictionary. Aboriginal language words on the new coin.
Words of the Week: jurlaka ('bird' in Gurindji), snitty, ze, PoC.
361: Helping My Language Live - Language Activism (with Margaret Florey)Apr 30, 2019 56:11
Imagine watching your language erode away.
How would you help it to stay alive? What can one person do in the face of language loss? There's good news: lots of people are taking up the challenge and becoming language activists.
Margaret Florey has worked in language activism for decades, and she gives Daniel Midgley some concrete ideas for language documentation and revitalisation that anyone can do. It's on this episode of Talk the Talk.
360: Familiolects (Live Q&A)Apr 23, 2019 42:51
Which words, phrases, and pronunciations are unique to your family?
We often talk about languages, dialects, and even our own personal ideolects, but for most of us, home is where language starts. So what it's doing at your place?
Our friends have shared their favourite stories on this episode of Talk the Talk.
359: False Friends (Live Q&A)Apr 19, 2019 41:33
They feel so right, but sound so wrong.
They're false friends — pairs of words in different languages that seem like they'd mean the same thing, but don't. Which ones have you run across in your language experience?
Our friends have sent their favourites for this episode of Talk the Talk.
358: Mailbag of MalletsApr 4, 2019 44:47
Again we tackle the questions that others dast not.
Why do all children know the 'nyah nyah' song?
What is the Trans-Atlantic accent?
Do Chinese characters stay readable longer than English words?
Who says they feel "less than"?
When a computer menu says "Save", is that an imperative or an infinitive?
Why does the word for "night" look like an "n" plus the word for "eight" in so many languages?
357: The F-Word (with Jesse Sheidlower)Mar 26, 2019 40:37
Daniel chats with lexicographer Jesse Sheidlower about profanity, power, and his book, "The F-Word".
News: Meet Q, the genderless voice assistant.
Words of the Week: charity muggers, omnishambles, snowplow parenting.
356: The The Show (with Nick Wilson)Mar 19, 2019 50:09
Talking to Nick Wilson about the biggest small word in the English language: the.
News: How the media reports about shooters. Also, how a changing diet changed the range of possible sounds in human language.
Words of the Week: big oof, contracept, ha-ha duck.
355: The Bee Show (with Stephen Mann)Mar 12, 2019 01:04:10
Bees: not just great pollinators; great communicators.
The dance of the European honeybee is one of the most famous methods of communication in the animal kingdom, and shows features that are very similar to human language.
But are bees losing their groove? We're talking to Stephen Mann, animal communication expert, on this episode of Talk the Talk.
354: Shiny Crumb (Live Q&A)Mar 5, 2019 41:45
Have you ever blanked on a word and said something else?
It may not just be you. Some mild forms of anomia happen as we age, but research finds that lexical recall is not straightforward.
We'll be hearing from you on this episode of the thing with the talking tube thing.
353: Mailbag of Highly Intelligent ListenersFeb 27, 2019 43:22
Some smart questions from our Mailbag.
Will there ever be one global language?
What would it take for completely new words in English?
What's happening when people say 'I have went'?
When did buzzwords start?
Are there stages in language learning?
How does a linguist study a language they don't speak?
What determines the prestige of a variety of language?
352: Wait (with Sali Tagliamonte)Feb 19, 2019 47:06
Dr Sali Tagliamonte tells us about her new research into the word 'wait'. You probably use it at the start of sentences, but why?
News: A research team is learning to recognise speech from thoughts. And zebra finches show socially-guided vocal learning in their calls.
Words of the Week: mood, vulva / vagina, Generation V, immune amnesia
351: A Perfect Alphabet (or, The Royal Tweet)Feb 13, 2019 46:30
Answering the royal question: what would a perfect alphabet look like? Are there any redundant letters?
News: Is it possible to learn new vocabulary during sleep? Also, we talk about the gold rush in ancient DNA.
Words of the Week: pinch emoji, clusterfuzz, Green New Deal, complexifier.
350: Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish (with Zalmen Mlotek and Motl Didner)Feb 5, 2019 44:55
Fiddler on the Roof is heading to Broadway — in Yiddish for the first time. What goes into the production? How does translation work? What does this production mean to the cast and to audience members? Daniel speaks with the creative team in charge of the production on this episode of Talk the Talk.
349: Words of the Year 2018Jan 29, 2019 50:22
What were the words that marked our year?
Daniel was there for the serious, the social, and the silly at the American Dialect Society's annual Word of the Year vote.
Hedvig and Daniel discuss all the words on this episode of Talk the Talk.