Could Neanderthals Talk Like Us?

Deb Roy: The birth of a word 

MIT researcher Deb Roy wanted to understand how his infant son learned language — so he wired up his house with videocameras to catch every moment (with exceptions) of his son’s life, then parsed 90,000 hours of home video to watch “gaaaa” slowly turn into “water.”

cracked:

Now imagine a mountain of that confetti, and needing to learn it to function.
The 5 Craziest Human Languages Spoken Around the World

#5. Archi — The Language With 1.5 Million Verb Endings
The English language has three different verb endings. These are -ing, -ed, and -s. “He farted,” “He’s farting,” or “He really farts constantly.” With us so far? OK. Archi, an indigenous language spoken in southwest Russia, has 1,502,839 verb endings. Chew on that for a moment — an Archi speaker can tell you to piss off in more ways than there are words in the Oxford dictionary.

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cracked:

Now imagine a mountain of that confetti, and needing to learn it to function.

The 5 Craziest Human Languages Spoken Around the World

#5. Archi — The Language With 1.5 Million Verb Endings

The English language has three different verb endings. These are -ing, -ed, and -s. “He farted,” “He’s farting,” or “He really farts constantly.” With us so far? OK. Archi, an indigenous language spoken in southwest Russia, has 1,502,839 verb endings. Chew on that for a moment — an Archi speaker can tell you to piss off in more ways than there are words in the Oxford dictionary.

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What is everybody's natural language ? The cruel experiment in language deprivation of Frederick II - Weird Italy

Frederick II carried out also a deprivation language experiment on young infants raised without human interaction in an attempt to determine if there was an innate natural language that they might demonstrate once their voices matured. It is claimed he was seeking to discover what language would have been imparted unto Adam and Eve by God. Salimbene di Adam wrote that Frederick encouraged “foster-mothers and nurses to suckle and bathe and wash the children, but in no ways to prattle or speak with them; for he would have learnt whether they would speak the Hebrew language (which had been the first), or Greek, or Latin, or Arabic, or perchance the tongue of their parents of whom they had been born. But he laboured in vain, for the children could not live without clappings of the hands, and gestures, and gladness of countenance, and blandishments.

The truth about Internet slang: It goes way back

Papuan Languages

Mark Pagel explained that Papua New Guinea had an astonishing number of languages. You can learn more about them here.

New York, a graveyard for languages

To hear the many languages of New York, just board the subway.

The number 7 line, which leads from Flushing in Queens to Times Square in the heart of Manhattan takes you on a journey which would thrill the heart of a linguistic anthropologist.

Each stop along the line takes you into a different linguistic universe - Korean, Chinese, Spanish, Bengali, Gujarati, Nepali.

And it is not just the language spoken on the streets that changes.

Street signs and business names are also transformed, even those advertising the services of major multinational banks or hotel chains.

In the subway, the information signs warning passengers to avoid the electrified rails are written in seven different languages.

But as I have discovered, New York is not just a city where many languages live, it is also a place where languages go to die, the final destination for the last speakers of some of the planet’s most critically endangered speech forms.

Saving Languages Through Korean Soap Operas

About 350,000 people in the world speak Udmurt, a language native to eastern Russia. Nearly 50 percent of global languages are at risk of going extinct, and Udmurt is one of them—a so-called “endangered language.” Preserving these languages is hard; as communities age and disperse, and as globalization pushes younger generations to study English, the incentives to learn an obscure, local language diminish.

But for Udmurt speakers, there’s a new way to share the language: the movie Apocalypto. 

Mark Pagel: How language transformed humanity

mapsontheweb:

Average Number of Languages Spoken by the EU Population

We in the UK really need to up our game when it comes to languages.

mapsontheweb:

Average Number of Languages Spoken by the EU Population

We in the UK really need to up our game when it comes to languages.