Episode 56:

A new episode of Lingthusiasm!

Click here to listen to Episode 56: Not NOT a negation episode!

“I don’t have a pet dinosaur.” This sentence is, we assume, true for everyone listening to this episode (if it isn’t, uh, tell us your ways?). And yet it has a different feel to it than a more ordinary sentence like “I don’t have a cat”, the type of negated sentence that’s true for some people and not others. 

In this episode, your hosts Lauren Gawne and Gretchen McCulloch get enthusiastic about negation! We talk about how languages make sentences negative, how negation fits into the social side of conversation, and two ways you can make things super extra negative: negative concord (aka “French toast negation”) and negative polarity items (aka “Mean Girls negation”). Plus, a few sneak peeks from the upcoming book Highly Irregular by Arika Okrent, which is coming out on July 1, 2021 and which we are delighted to recommend. 


Announcements: 

This month’s bonus episode is a recording of our live show! When someone else is telling a story, you might encourage them to keep talking or to elaborate on a particular point by making various words, sounds, phrases, or gestures, such as “oh really?” and “mhm-hm” and nodding. This linguistic behaviour is known as backchannelling. Join us on Patreon to learn more, and to get access to 50 other bonus episodesYou’ll also get access to our Discord server to chat with other lingthusiasts! 


Here are the links mentioned in this episode: 


You can listen to this episode via Lingthusiasm.com, Soundcloud, RSS, Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also download an mp3 via the Soundcloud page for offline listening, and stay tuned for a transcript of this episode on the Lingthusiasm website. To receive an email whenever a new episode drops, sign up for the Lingthusiasm mailing list.

You can help keep Lingthusiasm advertising-free by supporting our Patreon. Being a patron gives you access to bonus content and lets you help decide on Lingthusiasm topics.

Lingthusiasm is on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Email us at contact [at] lingthusiasm [dot] com

Gretchen is on Twitter as @GretchenAMcC and blogs at All Things Linguistic.

Lauren is on Twitter as @superlinguo and blogs at Superlinguo.

Lingthusiasm is created by Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne. Our senior producer is Claire Gawne, our editorial producer is Sarah Dopierala, and our music is ‘Ancient City’ by The Triangles.

Here’s the link again to Episode 56: Not NOT a negation episode!

Thanks for listening, and stay Lingthusiastic!

Lauren & Gretchen

Episode 55: R and R-like sounds - Rhoticity

A new episode of Linghthusiasm!

Click here to listen to Episode 55: R and R-like sounds - Rhoticity!

The letter R is just one symbol, but it can represent a whole family of sounds. In various languages, R can be made in various places, from the tip of your tongue to the back of your throat, and in various ways, from repeatedly trilling a small fleshy part against the rest of your mouth to an almost fully open mouth that’s practically a vowel. 

In this episode, your hosts Lauren Gawne and Gretchen McCulloch get enthusiastic about R and R-like sounds, technically known as rhotics, including English r, French r, Spanish r and rr, and more. We also talk about how the presence or absence of R is a feature that distinguishes certain accents: think Canadian vs Australian English, northern vs southern varieties of English in the UK and US, and northern vs southern varieties of Mandarin.  


Announcements:
We’re doing a virtual live show! It’s on April 24, 2021 and you can get access to it by becoming a patron of Lingthusiasm at any level. The Lingthusiasm liveshow is part of LingFest, a fringe-festival-like programme of independently organized online linguistics events for the week of April 24 to May 2. See the LingFest website for details on other events.

The week before LingFest is LingComm21, the International Conference on Linguistics Communication. LingComm21 is a small, highly interactive, virtual conference that brings together lingcommers from a variety of levels and backgrounds, including linguists communicating with public audiences and communicators with a “beat” related to language. Find out more about LingComm21.

This months bonus episode is about talking to babies and small children! We talk about how the way babies are addressed differs across cultures, how people sometimes alter their speech subtly for babies even when they think they don't, and how infant-directed speech differs from similar genres like pet-directed speech. Join us on Patreon to get access to this, as well as 49 other bonus episodes - as well as a ticket for you and a friend to our upcoming liveshow!


Here are the links mentioned in this episode:


You can listen to this episode via Lingthusiasm.com, Soundcloud, RSS, Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also download an mp3 via the Soundcloud page for offline listening, and stay tuned for a transcript of this episode on the Lingthusiasm website. To receive an email whenever a new episode drops, sign up for the Lingthusiasm mailing list.

You can help keep Lingthusiasm advertising-free by supporting our Patreon. Being a patron gives you access to bonus content and lets you help decide on Lingthusiasm topics.

Lingthusiasm is on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Email us at contact [at] lingthusiasm [dot] com

Gretchen is on Twitter as @GretchenAMcC and blogs at All Things Linguistic.

Lauren is on Twitter as @superlinguo and blogs at Superlinguo.

Lingthusiasm is created by Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne. Our senior producer is Claire Gawne, our editorial producer is Sarah Dopierala, and our music is ‘Ancient City’ by The Triangles.

Here’s the link again to Episode 55: R and R-like sounds - Rhoticity

Thanks for listening, and stay Lingthusiastic!

Lauren & Gretchen

Episode 54: How linguists figure out the grammar of a language

A new episode of Lingthusiasm!

Click here to listen to Episode 54: How linguist figure out the grammar of an episode!

If you go to the linguistics section of a big library, you may find some shelves containing thick, dusty grammars of various languages. But grammars, like dictionaries, don’t just appear out of nowhere – they’re made by people, and those people bring their own interests and priorities to the process. 

In this episode, your hosts Lauren Gawne and Gretchen McCulloch get enthusiastic about the process of figuring out the structure of a language and writing it down – making a kind of book called a descriptive grammar. We also talk about differences in grammar-writing traditions in the history of India, Europe, and China, and how the structures of Sanskrit, Latin, and Old Chinese influenced the kinds of things that their early grammarians noticed about language.


Announcements: We’re doing a virtual live show! It’s on April 24, 2021 and you can get access to it by becoming a patron of Lingthusiasm at any level. The Lingthusiasm liveshow is part of LingFest, a fringe-festival-like programme of independently organized online linguistics events for the week of April 24 to May 2. See the LingFest website for details as more events trickle in.

The week before LingFest is LingComm21, the International Conference on Linguistics Communication. LingComm21 is a small, highly interactive, virtual conference that brings together lingcommers from a variety of levels and backgrounds, including linguists communicating with public audiences and communicators with a “beat” related to language. Find out more about LingComm21.

This month’s bonus episode is about reduplication! Have you eaten salad-salad, drunk milk-milk, or read a book-book lately? Or are you thinking something more along the lines of "salad, schmalad! milk, schmilk! books, schmooks!"? In either case, you're producing reduplication! We look at different forms and meanings of reduplication across various languages through the World Atlas of Linguistic Structures, why it's not called just "duplication", and delve into English reduplication via a classic among entertaining linguistics papers, the Salad-Salad Paper. Join us on Patreon to get access to this and 48 other bonus episodes - as well as the upcoming liveshow! 


Here are the links mentioned in this episode:


You can listen to this episode via Lingthusiasm.com, Soundcloud, RSS, Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also download an mp3 via the Soundcloud page for offline listening, and stay tuned for a transcript of this episode on the Lingthusiasm website. To receive an email whenever a new episode drops, sign up for the Lingthusiasm mailing list.

You can help keep Lingthusiasm advertising-free by supporting our Patreon. Being a patron gives you access to bonus content and lets you help decide on Lingthusiasm topics.

Lingthusiasm is on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Email us at contact [at] lingthusiasm [dot] com

Gretchen is on Twitter as @GretchenAMcC and blogs at All Things Linguistic.

Lauren is on Twitter as @superlinguo and blogs at Superlinguo.

Lingthusiasm is created by Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne. Our senior producer is Claire Gawne, our editorial producer is Sarah Dopierala, and our music is ‘Ancient City’ by The Triangles.

Here’s the link again to Episode 54: How linguists figure out the grammar of a language

Thanks for listening, and stay Lingthusiastic!

Lauren & Gretchen

Episode 53: Listen to the imperatives episode!

A new episode of Lingthusiasm!

Click here for Episode 53: Listen to the imperatives episode!

When we tell you, “stay lingthusiastic!” at the end of every episode, we’re using a grammatical feature known as the imperative. But although it might be amusing to imagine ancient Roman emperors getting enthusiastic about linguistics, unlike Caesar we don’t actually have the ability to enforce this command. So although “stay lingthusiastic!” has the form of the imperative, it really has more the effect of a wish or a hope. 

In this episode, your hosts Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne get enthusiastic about the range of things that imperatives do in various languages. We also get excited about why imperatives are often one of the first verb forms that children learn, how imperatives make up the general “vibe” (aka mood) of a verb, and imperatives in the fairy-tale retelling Ella Enchanted. 


Announcements: 

We’re doing a virtual live show! It’s on April 24, 2021 and you can get access to it by becoming a patron of Lingthusiasm at any level. The Lingthusiasm liveshow is part of LingFest, a fringe-festival-like programme of independently organized online linguistics events for the week of April 24 to May 2. See the LingFest website for details as more events trickle in. 

The week before LingFest is LingComm21, the International Conference on Linguistics Communication. LingComm21 is a small, highly interactive, virtual conference that brings together lingcommers from a variety of levels and backgrounds, including linguists communicating with public audiences and communicators with a “beat” related to language. Find out more about LingComm21

This month’s bonus episode is a Q&A with us, your hosts! We get enthusiastic about answering your questions!, like: What do you think is the best food to name a dog after? If you had to remove a phoneme from English, which do you think would have the most interesting results? How do you keep up with linguistics research outside academia? We also talk about our recent news and upcoming plans for 2021, “tell me you’re a linguist without telling me you’re a linguist”, and lots more great questions from the patron DiscordBecome a Patreon now to get access to this and 47 other bonus episodes, as well us our upcoming live show!


Here are the links mentioned in this episode:


You can listen to this episode via Lingthusiasm.com, SoundcloudRSSApple Podcasts/iTunesSpotifyYouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also download an mp3 via the Soundcloud page for offline listening, and stay tuned for a transcript of this episode on the Lingthusiasm website. To receive an email whenever a new episode drops, sign up for the Lingthusiasm mailing list.

You can help keep Lingthusiasm advertising-free by supporting our Patreon. Being a patron gives you access to bonus content and lets you help decide on Lingthusiasm topics.

Lingthusiasm is on FacebookTumblrInstagramPinterest, and Twitter.

Email us at contact [at] lingthusiasm [dot] com

Gretchen is on Twitter as @GretchenAMcC and blogs at All Things Linguistic.

Lauren is on Twitter as @superlinguo and blogs at Superlinguo.

Lingthusiasm is created by Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne. Our senior producer is Claire Gawne, our editorial producer is Sarah Dopierala, and our music is ‘Ancient City’ by The Triangles.

Here’s the link again to Episode 53: Listen to the imperatives episode

Thanks for listening, and stay Lingthusiastic!

Lauren & Gretchen

Episode 52: Writing is a technology

A new episode of Lingthusiasm!

Listen here to Episode 52: Writing is a technology

There’s no known human society without language, whether spoken or signed or both, but writing is a different story. Writing is a technology that has only been invented from scratch a handful of times: in ancient Sumeria (where it may have spread to ancient Egypt or been invented separately there), in ancient China, and in ancient Mesoamerica. Far more often, the idea of writing spreads through contact between one culture and its neighbours, even though the shape of the written characters and what they stand for can vary a lot as it spreads. 

In this episode, your hosts Lauren Gawne and Gretchen McCulloch get enthusiastic about writing systems, and how the structure and history of a language contribute to the massively multigenerational project of devising a writing system (a project which is still ongoing). We also talk about some of our favourite origin-of-writing system stories, including the invention of the Cherokee syllabary and Korean hangul. 


Announcements 

We’re just about to hit 100 Lingthusiasm episodes! If you’re wondering why this is only episode 52, that’s because the other half of them exist as bonus episodes on Patreon. It’s also been one year since we launched the Lingthusiasm Discord server, which has grown into a place where casual conversations about food and pets always have the potential to veer off into linguistics. There are always new people trickling into the Discord, so come by if you’re looking for a place to nerd out with fellow linguistics enthusiasts!

This month’s bonus episode is outtake stories from Lingthusiasm interviews! We’ve interviewed lots of great linguists on Lingthusiasm, and sometimes there’s a story or two that we just don’t have space for in the main episode, so here’s a bonus episode with our favourite outtakes! Think of it as a special bonus edition DVD of the past few years of Lingthusiasm with director’s commentary and deleted scenes. Join us on Patreon to get access to this and 46 other bonus episodes!


Here are the links mentioned in this episode:


You can listen to this episode via Lingthusiasm.com, SoundcloudRSSApple Podcasts/iTunesSpotifyYouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also download an mp3 via the Soundcloud page for offline listening, and stay tuned for a transcript of this episode on the Lingthusiasm website. To receive an email whenever a new episode drops, sign up for the Lingthusiasm mailing list.

You can help keep Lingthusiasm advertising-free by supporting our Patreon. Being a patron gives you access to bonus content and lets you help decide on Lingthusiasm topics.

Lingthusiasm is on FacebookTumblrInstagramPinterest, and Twitter.

Email us at contact [at] lingthusiasm [dot] com

Gretchen is on Twitter as @GretchenAMcC and blogs at All Things Linguistic.

Lauren is on Twitter as @superlinguo and blogs at Superlinguo.

Lingthusiasm is created by Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne. Our senior producer is Claire Gawne, our editorial producer is Sarah Dopierala, and our music is ‘Ancient City’ by The Triangles.

Here’s the link again to Episode 52: Writing is a technology

Thanks for listening, and stay Lingthusiastic!

Lauren & Gretchen

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