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The Here and Now Podcast Series on Language

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The Here and Now Podcast
All of the episodes of the H&N podcast's multipart series on language. Continue Reading >> All of the episodes of the H&N podcast's multipart series on language. << Show Less
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Language I - The Questions Is there a quality which is more uniquely human than language? The domain of language is vast and complex and involves many disciplines. In this series we will explore many of the big questions of language. We will cover a range of topics from evolution, biological, linguistics, anthropology, psychology and philosophy in our search for answers and a deeper understanding of what language is, where it came from, and how it functions in society.In this first episode of the series, I introduce the topic of language, raise several questions and attempt to understand what language is. We also take our first tentative steps toward answering the big question: how did language emerge in homo sapiens?Show notes and further readingLanguage – Collins Online DictionaryGenesis Chapter 11, verses 1 - 9Talking the Talk: Language Psychology and Science – Trevor Harley (2017)Daniel EverettHow Language Began – Daniel Everett (2017)A Basic Course in Anthropological Linguistics – Marcel Danesi (2004)Max MüllerOn the origin of species – Charles Darwin (1859)Psamtik I and the babies talk of breadKing James IV and the island experiment – BBC HistoryThe Here and Now Podcast on Facebook The Here and Now Podcast on Twitter Send me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
Language II - Origins The origins of language are unknown. Now that's out of the way we can get on with investigating several of the possibilities in this second episode of our series on language. This episode considers Daniel Everett's gradualism thesis that the hominid Homo erectus was an early adopter of language as evidenced by their extensive travels and creation of icons and symbols. We explore this thesis, Pierces' semiotics model, and evidence from the fossil record. Remember, this is a gentle introduction to the topic which fills volumes. You can find much more detail in the reading list below. Show NotesHow Language Began – Daniel Everett (2017)How Language Began – Daniel Everett TED talk (YouTube)Language: The cultural tool - Daniel Everett (2012)The Evolution of Language – W. Tecumseh Fitch (2010)Talking the Talk: Language Psychology and Science – Trevor Harley (2017)Homo erectus - WikipediaHomo erectus may have been a sailor and able to speak – The Guardian (2018)Oldowan tools Charles Pierce’s Semiotic Theory of SignsThe Makapangskat Pebble The Here and Now Podcast on Facebook The Here and Now Podcast on Twitter Send me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
Language III - Animals Animals are capable of many amazing feats. Some even have remarkable learning and communication abilities, but do they have language? In part three of our series on language we take a look at the linguistic abilities of several animals and highlight a few of the distinctions between animal communication and human language. Show notesAlex - The Genius Grey Parrot (YouTube)Washoe the signing chimpanzee (YouTube)Kanzi the bonobo who can talk (YouTube)Talking the Talk: Language Psychology and Science – Trevor Harley (2017)The Evolution of Language – W. Tecumseh Fitch (2010)The Language Instinct - Steven Pinker (2010)The Here and Now Podcast on Facebook The Here and Now Podcast on Twitter Send me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
Language IV - Mind and Body We get more technical in this fourth episode of our series on language. We continue with the gradualist theory of the origins of language by looking at three key areas: the brain, speech production and gestures. We consider if there are regions of the brain associated with language, whether there is a language gene and how the speech apparatus works. We also consider sign language and gestures and discuss whether these could have been the origins of language and whether hominids like Homo erectus had any of these features. Show notesThe human language faculty as an organ. S. Anderson & D. Lightfoot (2000)Masters of the planet: The search for our human origins. I. Tattersall (2013)Natural language and natural selection. S. Pinker & P. Bloom (1990)The evolution of language – W. T. Fitch (2010)The faculty of language: What is it, who has it and how did it evolve? (Hauser, Chomsky & Fitch, 2002)Internal cranial features of the Mojokerto child fossil (East Java, Indonesia) (2005)Broca’s area network in language function. B. Bernal, A. Ardila & M. Rosselli (2015)Birds share language gene with humansFOXP2 - WikipediaLanguage is in the genes Diverse genome upends understanding of how language evolvedEvolution of a single gene led to language Mirror neurons and the evolution of language. M. Corballis (2009)How language began: Gesture and speech in human evolution. D. McNeill (2012)The descended larynx is not uniquely human. W. T. Fitch & D. Reby (2001)From grunting to grabbing: Why humans can talk The truth about language: What it is and where it came from. M. Corballis (2017)The Here and Now Podcast on FacebookSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
Language V - The Great Leap In this final episode of part I of our series on language, we examine the non-gradualist theory of the emergence of language, also referred to as The Great Leap theory. An apparent behavioral revolution that took place 50,000 years ago accompanied by an explosion of technology and creativity and many suggest this was enabled by the emergence of language. We consider the arguments for and against this theory made by archeologists, linguists and anthropologists and briefly introduce Chomsky's theories of Universal Grammar, Principles and Parameters, and Minimalist Program of Unbounded Merge. Show NotesOldest cave art found in Sulawesi – A. Brumm et al. (2021)45,500 year old Sulawesi warty pig painting found in Indonesian caveWhy only us: Language and evolution. R. Berwick & N. Chomsky (2017)Masters of the planet: The search for our human origins. I. Tatersall (2012)The dawn of human culture. R. Klein (2007)The truth about language: What it is and where it came from. M. Corballis (2017)Natural language and natural selection. S. Pinker & P. Bloom (1990)On nature and language. N. Chomsky with A. Belletti & L. Rizzi. (2002)What exactly is Universal Grammar and has anyone seen it?Principles and parameters Language: The cultural tool. D. Everett (2012)Lascaux cave complex – Wikipedia The revolution that wasn’t: A new interpretation of the origin of modern human behaviour. S. Mcbrearty & S. Brooks (2000)When humans became human Phonemic diversity supports a serial founder effect model of language expansion from Africa. Q. Atkinson (2011). The Here and Now Podcast on FacebookThe Here and Now Podcast on TwitterSend me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
Language and Culture with Professor Quentin Atkinson Professor Quentin Atkinson of the University of Auckland joins me to discuss his work on the origins of language and the evolution of culture. Professor Atkinson gained widespread recognition for his 2011 paper in the journal Science in which he used modeling techniques from evolutionary biology to show how human language can be traced to its origins on the west coast of Africa. I discussed this briefly in the last episode Language V - The Great Leap.In our conversation we discuss this work and how understanding the core elements of languages can tell us about the movements and histories of human populations, how cultures are shaped by folktales and stories, the importance of connecting the past with the present as we attempt to understand ancient cultures and how the big questions in science can benefit from an interdisciplinary approach which applies diverse problem solving techniques to problems both old and new. The Here and Now Podcast Language Serieshttps://www.quentinatkinson.com/Phonemic diversity supports a serial founder effect model of language expansion from Africa. Q. Atkinson (2011).Pagel, M., Atkinson, Q. D., Calude, A., & Meade (2013). Ultraconserved words point to deep language ancestry across Eurasia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 110(21):8471–8476. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1218726110Ross, R. M. & Atkinson, Q. D. (2016). Folktale transmission in the Arctic provides evidence for high bandwidth social learning among hunter-gatherer groups. Evolution and Human Behavior, 37(1):47-53. DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2015.08.001The Here and Now Podcast on FacebookThe Here and Now Podcast on TwitterSend me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
Language VI - What does it all mean? Part two of our series on language considers the question: How do we use language? In this episode we look at the field of linguistics known as semantics which considers how words represent tangible and abstract meanings. We also see how much of what we say is metaphor and how culture informs how we create mental maps of meaning which we use to communicate and share ideas. Show notesThe Here and Now Podcast Language SeriesA Basic Course in Anthropological Linguistics – Marcel Danesi (2004)Pidgins - WikipediaMetaphors We Live By – Lakeoff G & Johnson MDo Inuits really have 50 words for snow?The Here and Now Podcast on FacebookThe Here and Now Podcast on TwitterSend me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
Language VII - Language and Us To conclude part two of the series we consider pragmatics, the linguistic field that deals with context and how language is used. We take a look at &apos;why&apos; we have language and the subtle and not so subtle ways we communicate. We consider different types of dialects, turn taking and the power of language to shape the way we think. We then conclude the episode with a look at one of the superpowers of language, swearing. Show NotesThe Here and Now Podcast Language SeriesThe Social Origins of Language – Dor D, Knight C & Lewis J.Why We Talk – DessallesLanguage and Situation – Gregory M & Carroll SLanguage as a Social Action – Holtgraves THow to do Things with Words – John AustinSpeech Act Theory – John AustinJohn Searle – PhilosopherA Simplest Systematics for the Organization of Turn Taking for Conversation – Sacks H, Schleghoff E & Jefferson G1984 – George OrwellLanguages don’t all have the same number of terms for colorsJocko Podcast #263 on 1984 and NewspeakSwearing is good for you: The amazing science of bad language – Byrne ESwearing as a response to pain – Dr. Richard StephensSwearing is a sign of more intelligence not lessYour cursing cortexThe Here and Now Podcast on FacebookThe Here and Now Podcast on TwitterSend me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
The Psychology of Language with Professor Trevor Harley Dr. Trevor Harley is an Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Dundee University, Scotland specialising in cognitive psychology. He has authored eight books including the best selling textbook, The Psychology of Language, currently in its fourth edition, as well as his gentler introduction to the topic, Talking the Talk. His other works include The Psychology of Weather, Science and Psychology and a soon to be released textbook on the psychology of consciousness. Despite his many academic achievements, Dr. Harley has battled with mental illness throughout his life. In our conversation we discuss a range of topics from cognitive psychology including the parallels between consciousness and language, the features of language which make humans unique, language and consciousness in animals, the function of the brain as a filter and what this means for dreams, non-verbal communication and its myths, slips of the tongue and how he has managed his challenges with mental illness. http://www.trevorharley.comTrevor A. Harley - Amazon Author PageWhat is the meaning of my life? - Dr. Harley's blog on mental healthTalking the Talk - Language, Psychology and Science The Here and Now Podcast on Facebook The Here and Now Podcast on Twitter Send me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
Language VIII - The Fabric of Thought In the third and final part of our series on language we consider the philosophical question: Do we need language to think? This question is often articulated as the Sapir Whorf hypothesis. We examine the question from its historical perspective, Boas, Sapir and Whorf&apos;s anthropological investigations, Lenneberg&apos;s formulation of a strong and weak version of the hypothesis, the relationship between language and cognition, what we&apos;ve learned from Piaget&apos;s study of childhood development, how bilingualism and translatability inform thought and how this leads us to our old friend, culture. Spoiler alert: the conclusion is unsatisfying (at least to me), but we still uncover some interesting aspects of human cognition and language along the way.Show notesArrival Imdb Linguistic relativity - WikipediaWilhelm von Humboldt - WikipediaFranz Boas - WikipediaEdward Sapir - WikipediaBenjamin Lee Whorf - WikipediaThe Language Animal - Charles TaylorChange of language, change of personality? – Psychology Today20 words that don’t exist in English but really should - InsiderFive ways of learning how to talk about events – Berman & SlobinFrog, where are you?The Here and Now Podcast on FacebookThe Here and Now Podcast on TwitterSend me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
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