Jean Berko Gleason

Jean Berko Gleason

Learning to talk, acquiring language, is one of the most remarkable and ordinary things human beings do. A playful conversation with a legend in the field of psycholinguistics, who says it’s as thrilling a frontier as outer space or the deep sea.

Our delightful exercise with 10 of the 27 drawings that comprise the "wug test." Try them out with the kids in your life (or, yes, even by yourself). They'll demonstrate how children as young as three or four can internalize complex grammatical codes no one has necessarily ever tried to teach them. And let us know what surprised you!

This week we interviewed Jean Berko Gleason, a psycholinguist who is now a professor emerita at Boston University, about how we learn and use the most valuable of skills: human language. She's best known for her wug test experiment, revealing that children develop general systems to learn language.

A fun video segment from NOVA testing a producer's linguistic capacities.