Month: April 2015


How do we deal with gender when we process language? Do we take it into consideration when we hear words and sentences? In this week’s episode, we talk about gender and language processing: the different kinds of gender in language, how gender influences our ability to retrieve words from our mental dictionaries, and how our views on gender temporarily keep us from considering otherwise legitimate interpretations of sentences.

This was a topic we’d wanted to address for a while, and we’re looking forward to hearing what you have to say!

I’m really pumped about this episode, you guys. I was really surprised to learn some of the stuff that’s in here, and I’m actually really curious to see what would happen if we redid these experiments today? There’s still a crapton of gender normativity in the world but I feel like a lot of people are becoming more aware of different ways of doing things. I wonder how tumblr would fare on experiments like the ones mentioned here?

linguist gothic


  • There is a wug in your phonetics lecture. You look away and there are two. One of them wanders away. Two return. You dare not look away from them, but soon there are too many to keep in sight. You cannot reach the door to escape. The professor is still lecturing. There are…

You finally get your grant to do ultrasound phonetic analysis. You try the apparatus on yourself first. The image of your oral cavity flickers to life on the screen, blue glow limning the unmistakable profile of a favourite toy you lost as a child.

linguist gothic



Do children have an easier time learning a second language than adults? What paths do kids travel for acquiring new languages? This week, we talk about child second language acquisition: how it differs from first language acquisition by babies, how it differs from adult second language acquisition, and from what ages we start seeing transfer effects from the first language showing up in little kids.

We’re glad to be talking about language acquisition again! Looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say. ^_^

Reblog for the day crew! ^_^

New video! All about how kids acquire a second language, and how it’s different from adults. Check it out!


How long have we been writing? What sorts of character systems do we use? In this week’s episode, we look at our written languages: where they came from, the varieties of systems that we developed, and how different alphabets have evolved over time.

Also, happy April Fool’s Day! Watch out for octopi. All the information’s good, though – no April Fool’s jokes there. And let us know what you think!

Happy April Fool’s! You can never trust cephalopods. They’re tricksy

Writing is super weird! Like, at some point in most of our lives, usually fairly early, we figure out how to interpret symbols to have linguistic meaning, and then how to use those symbols for ourselves. I’ve been a voracious reader, from a family of voracious readers, since way before elementary school, and writing stories since my teens (the stories tended to just hang out in my brain before that, content to not be shared with the world), so writing – how we do it, why we do it, and how it evolved – is something I’ve thought about a lot. 

It’s sort of like magic. It doesn’t make sense. It’s taking aptitudes and faculties we’re born with and applying our willpower to them until we can do this thing that is really fundamentally unnatural, and yet that gets internalized by most of us to the point that we don’t even think about it anymore when we do it. Plus, we can use it to do so much more than just convey information. We can make people cry, through writing. Make them dream, and hope, and fear. 

You sit down and read, and your brain is more than happy to take that journey into what might as well be another world. And from the comfort of your armchair or your city bus or your waiting room, you see new sights, expand your knowledge, and form deep emotional connections with people and places that were born in other people’s imaginations. 

Writing is weird. But it might be the best weird I know. ❤