Language myths, busted

Everyone ‘knows’ that English is suffering a slow decline, that apes can use language, and that Eskimos have 12,000 words for snow. Or do we? Leave your linguistic preconceptions at the door as we put some of the most commonly held ideas about language to the test.

Along the way, you’ll learn to evaluate claims like a linguist, hone your baloney detector, and find out about some useful language resources. But be prepared – cherished notions about language may not survive the rigorous scrutiny.

OUTLINE

  • A flurry of words for ‘snow’ - words and their meanings
  • If I could talk to the animals – language and other species
  • They don’t talk proper no more – attitudes about language and dialect
  • Girl talk, boy talk – gender and language