educational video



How can we try to capture the commonalities and differences between linguistic sound systems? What makes one language sound different from another? In this week’s episode, we take a look at Optimality Theory: how we can use constraints to describe how phonology behaves, how we rank which rules we care most about breaking, and how changing our priorities leads to totally different sound outcomes.

Looking forward to hearing what people have to say! ^_^

Reblog for the day crew!

New episode!



It is a thing.


How can we tell apart different sonorant consonants- your [n]s and [m]s, [l]s and [ɹ]s? What do their sound waves look like? In this week’s episode, we take a look at the acoustics of nasal and approximant consonants: how opening up your nose influences your speech, how similar some consonants are to being vowels, and why it can be hard for some people to tell apart the English l and r.

I tried dressing up differently for this episode, too, which was pretty fun. Looking forward to hearing what people have to say! ^_^

New Ling Space! Whoops I’ve been sporadic in my reblogs lately. Hope I can catch up sometime ^^;

Moti dressup!



Why do so many words and sentences have multiple meanings? How do we deal with all of the overlaps? In this week’s episode, we talk about ambiguity: where it comes from, how we deal with processing it, and how children pick meanings from the menu of semantic possibilities they’re presented with.

We’ve been meaning to talk more about this for a while! Looking forward to hearing what you all think. ^_^

Reblog for the day crew! And happy Canada Day. ^_^

New episode!! And hello all our new viewers, delighted to meet you! ❤

10,000 Subscribers


So over the weekend, we passed 10,000 subscribers on our YouTube channel. We’re really excited and amazed by this! Thanks so much for your support for us. We even got lucky enough that our staff writer Stephan managed to snag a screenshot of our page just when we hit 10,000:

As is customary for this milestone, we’re planning on doing a Q&A video to commemorate the occasion! Feel free to ask us stuff here, or on Twitter or Facebook or wherever. It can be about language stuff, the channel, or whatever else you feel like! Then we’ll pick among the questions and answer them. I’ll try to get together the whole team to do the session, too. ^_^

Also, another reminder: We’re going to be at VidCon this Thursday to Saturday! Our director Adele and I will be both attending. We’re really happy to meet up with people, so please come say hi. ^_^

I just want to say how thrilling it is to be part of this project and to be able to make linguistics videos for the wonderful audience that you all are!! Thank you to everyone who has subscribed so far and everyone who enjoys our videos.

See you at VidCon!



How do we put our words together? What varieties of building blocks do we stack up to create bigger meanings? In this week’s episode, we talk about derivational and inflectional morphology: what roles each of them play, how to tell them apart, and how differences in how we string them together can lead to ambiguity.

Back talking about morphology for the first time in a while! Looking forward to hearing what people have to say. ^_^

Reblog for the day crew!

New video is up! Time to stack those morphemes. 😀


How much meaning is there just in sounds? How much are words alike across languages? In this week’s episode, we talk about the arbitrariness of the sign: how our sounds don’t have to connect to the meanings they do, how much cases like onomatopoeia serve as a counter to the random matching of words, and whether individual sounds or syllables carry their own semantic punch.

Here’s a fun topic with some really cool old and new research in it! Looking forward to hearing what people have to say.

This one was super fun to co-write! I especially enjoyed coming up with the fakey brand names. Language!


How do we know what questions we can ask? What keeps us from moving words around into whatever order we want? In this week’s episode, we talk about syntactic islands: what they are, what rules can allow us to move some words across long distances in a sentence and not others, and what evidence we have from different languages to back these rules up.

Back to talking about syntax this week! We’re looking forward to hearing what people have to say.

Hey hey, new ep! And this one comes with a CONTEST:

Be the first to guess where our ~mysteriously missing~ figurine of Kanji Tatsumi, which has been in every episode ever, has gone traveling to, and you’ll win a Ling Space mug of your choosing! For srs guys, this isn’t an April Fool’s prank. ^_^

There are clues here and there, so get guessing!



What kinds of mistakes do kids make in their sentences? Why do we see them leaving things out so much more often than putting things in wrong? In this week’s episode, we talk about grammatical conservatism: what it means, some ways it shows up, and what it can tell us about language and how kids use it.

Coming back to acquisition’s always fun for us! Looking forward to hearing what people have to say. ^_^

Reblog for the day crew! ^_^

Yay for more language acquisition stuff!

Interview with Lisa Pearl


We’re really excited to announce our next interview! Following on our interviews with Steven Pinker and Daniel Dennett, we’re going to be talking with Lisa Pearl.

Lisa is an Associate Professor in the Department of Cognitive Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. Her research is at the intersection of language acquisition and computational modeling, particularly using statistical models and language data to test different theories of how little kids might pick up different aspects of language. She’s also done some research on natural language processing, too!

Lisa’s been doing some of our favourite work on acquisition over the past several years, and we’ve been talking about her work ever since the very first episode of the Ling Space. We’re really happy to get the chance to talk with her and hear what she has to say! As usual, if you have questions for her, just let us know – we’ll ask a couple in the final interview. ^_^

(Also, as a final note: the sale in our store is still going on! Everything, including our new Super Schwa shirt, is 20% off with the code 7500SUBS.)

It was incredibly fun to get to meet Lisa Pearl, and to hear her share her passion and excitement about language and research and BRAINS. I’m really looking forward to putting this interview up on the channel so you can be a part of the fun too!