To communicate is human – but how did language originally get started?
What can a bunch of people grunting in a lab teach us about our capacity to create language systems? A lot about the gesture- or vocalization-based origins of language.
Amid the debate about what languages should dominate at African schools, we’re missing an important point: why do we learn language in the first place?
There are two functions of language: communication and access to knowledge. Each must be pursued as an objective in its own right rather than being lumped together.
Members of the Chitimacha language team (from left to right) Sam Boutte, Kim Walden and Rachel Vilcan use the new language software for the first time.
In the face of war, disease and outside cultural pressures, the Chitimacha language has survived -- and now thrives.
Minions, contrary to parental fears, have not been swearing at children – but why would that be a problem anyway?
Parental concerns that Minions given as toys in McDonald's Happy Meals have been dropping the F-bomb raises an issue: how far – if at all – should we go to prevent children from exposure to "bad" language?
The United States celebrates its World Cup victory.
USA Today Sports/Reuters
Language can subtly undermine women's sports in a number of ways.
How much does the way we speak affect the way people perceive us – and should it really matter in contemporary Australia?
Within Australia, there has historically been a clear social distinction between Cultivated (British-oriented) and Broad or General, distinctly Australian ways of speaking.
Liberalism means something completely different in South Africa compared with the US and UK, and has racist connotations.
Liberalism is a dirty word for the majority of South Africans. This goes back to early colonialism. Liberals opposed apartheid but not the close relationship between capitalism and apartheid.
A unique language spoken by 2,500 people in central Sweden will start being taught in preschool.
‘Standing up’ for something is viewed positively, while taking something ‘lying down’ has negative connotations.
In subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways, our language reflects societal attitudes.
Linguist and mother ignoring Steven Pinker’s advice.
There's nothing like raising an infant to help galvanise one of the greatest debates in modern linguistics.
Lest we forget is an expression with dignified origins, a rich history and a budding linguistic fossil.
This Anzac Day the words "lest we forget" will often be spoken. It's a usage that we don't otherwise hear. Why do linguistic fossils such as "lest we forget" linger – and how do they help us remember the fallen?
Does this represent the degeneration of language? Not quite.
Don't listen to the naysayers. New ways of communicating have created a wealth of new opportunities to harness – and study – language.
Legend tells that huge hollow boabs were used as prisons in north west Australia.
Genetics and linguistics show Aboriginal people spread iconic boab trees around north west Australia.
Migrants making their way through Calais. Get to the UK, and they might face a tough language test.
Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Are tests to prove asylum seekers come from where they say they do impossible to do fairly?
Greater cultural literacy – and a dash of linguistics – could go a long way to improving relations.
Australian interests are intimately tied with those of Indonesia – how might a greater understanding of linguistics and cultural nuance help?
From left to right. Mandarin employs a different part of the brain.
Chinese man via XiXinXing/Shutterstock
Language is traditionally associated with the left side of the brain. But Mandarin speakers are using the right side.
We could all pay better attention to what comes out our mouth.
The Macquarie Dictionary last week named “mansplain” its word of the year for 2014. The Dictionary defines mansplain as: verb (t) Colloquial (humorous) (of a man) to explain (something) to a woman, in…
You’re twice as likely to chat about vaping than you were in 2013.
Selfies were so 2013. But vaping’s in: Oxford Dictionaries have announced vape as its international Word of the Year 2014. The runners up are bae, budtender, contactless, indyref, normcore and slacktivism…
One thing’s clear, there’s a whole lot of duckspeak afoot.
Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography/Flickr
Writer Will Self grabbed headlines earlier this week by referring to George Orwell as the “Supreme Mediocrity”. He wrote: The curious thing is that while during the post-war period we’ve had many political…
Tony Blair and Benjamin Netanyahu speak the same language when distancing themselves from the killing of civilians in military operations.
EPA/Haim Zach/Israeli government press office
Some years back, award-winning British journalist Robert Fisk wrote an article in which he stated the apparent tautology that “murder is murder”. Fisk was writing on Israel’s policy of “targeted killing…