language

language

By Mariah Helgeson January 24, 2014

There's something magical about the way Ann Hamilton inhabits space. This video will transport you to an extraordinary world of ordinary life observed by a maker.

April 26, 2013

Sometimes it takes persistence to pitch a voice you know is right — and the willingness to listen to others around the dinner table.

April 13, 2012

The poet Elizabeth Alexander once asked, “What if the mightiest word is love?”

November 06, 2011

Watch the 20-minute video in which the MIT researcher explains how he wired his house with microphones and video cameras — and how we learn language and the landscapes in which we encounter each other.

October 30, 2011

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!

October 03, 2011

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.

February 20, 2011

A "linguistic resurrection" you ask? Krista’s presentation at the United Nations was featured on TED.com! Krista's TEDTalk presents ways in which we can ground + humanize the word "compassion" by using language more fully and by looking to people who exemplify this aspiration. Watch and share what your ideas.

July 13, 2010

The Dream of the Rood (Vercelli Manuscript)I’m a research junkie and a word nerd. When I was in graduate school, I spent a year researching one of the earliest Old English poems, “The Dream of the Rood.” The project began as a lexical analysis for a linguistics class, and what I discovered was that many words had multiple senses — and the available translations didn’t emphasize this. I ended up doing my own translation of all 256 lines. It was immensely rewarding to unfold levels and layers of meaning this way.

January 21, 2010

Compelling video of elephants mourning the death of a calf, and a magnificent segment on the secret language of elephants.

October 21, 2009

We often struggle with crafting interesting or catchy titles for each new program. Sometimes we latch on to something one of our guests said in the interview, as was the case with our recent program, which may win the dubious honor of having the longest title: Curiosity Over Assumptions, Interreligiosity Meets a New Generation.

But, please do know that it was not without much debate and extensive brainstorming among our entire staff to try to arrive at a title for the work of Aziza Hasan and Malka Haya Fenyvesi. With humility, I share some of the runners-up:

October 10, 2009

Stephanie FieldingAfter we replayed our program with David Treuer last week, we received an interesting story from listener Stephanie Fielding in Uncasville, Connecticut. In the program, Treuer talks about his efforts to help sustain the Ojibwe language:

“What I really love about language revitalization, what is so key to it, is that it’s always been ours and it’s a chance to define ourselves on and in our own terms and in ways that have nothing to do with what’s been taken. We can define ourselves by virtue of what we’ve saved.”

June 12, 2009

A New York Times editorial sheds light on the difficulties of covering torture and interrogation.

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July 24, 2008

"The Dead Sea Scrolls" of Chinese theological history uncover an emotional side of Confucianism.

July 01, 2008

Ojibwe teacher Keller Paap reflects on his work and the necessity of his language to adapt in order for it to flourish.

April 02, 2008


(photo: Lastexit/Flickr)