language

2/6: Language http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04lpxx9

We communicate with each other in more ways than ever and with an ever expanding range of devices and platforms. But they all piggy back on an earlier invention, our original social networking technology – language.

In this edition of the Digital Human Aleks Krotoski explores the idea of language as a technology itself and how people over the years have attempted to improve it; re-engineer it for maximum efficiency, or use it as a lever of social change.

She speaks to Professor David Crystal about how we’re living through a period of rapid language growth comparable to the renaissance or industrial revolution. Evolutionary biologist Mark Pagel explains how we can consider language as a technology devised by natural selection while linguist Arika Okrent charts the attempts down the years by those who think they can perfect the function of language by devising their own.

There’s been a lot about language going on this semester – just completed the Corpus Mooc.

 

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