Talk the Talk
A show about linguistics, the science of language, on RTRFM 92.1 community radio, Perth.
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.