Dec. 17th, 2016

athousanderrors: from 'Spirited Away' - soot sprites, clutching confetti stars, running about excitedly. (Default)

Many current linguists first discovered linguistics through the invented languages in the Lord of the Rings series and other linguistically-oriented fiction. Now that the movie Arrival stars an actual linguist, we have the opportunity to reach a whole new generation of future linguists. 

Now, All Things Linguistic is a linguistics blog, so if you’re reading this here you’re probably already a linguistics fan, but this would be a great post to share with your friends and social networks to help reach (or make!) a few more budding linguists. 

And if you’re new, welcome! Here’s your list of things to check out: 

Read the short story

The Story of Your Life, Ted Chiang’s original short story that Arrival was based on, has even more linguistic detail, and as a short story, it’s a pretty fast read. 

Read about the linguist who consulted for Arrival

Jessica Coon is a real-life field linguist at McGill University who consulted on the linguistics aspects of Arrival. She’s done a lot of interviews about the real linguistics behind the film, what she did on set, and how we’d actually talk to aliens if they arrived – check out her full list of Arrival linguistics media here.


Want to actually do some of the linguistically-oriented problem-solving that Amy Adams’s character does in Arrival? 

Take an intro linguistics course

Want to meet or become a linguist like Louise Banks? I can’t guarantee that the FBI will call you up, but taking an intro linguistics course or two is a great first step. As a bonus, intro linguistics course are generally very hands-on, so you’ll probably get to do some assignments where you figure out something to do with an unfamiliar language. 

If you’re not at a university with a linguistics program, free online intro linguistics courses run periodically, such as this one on Coursera, or there are perennial resources such as MIT OpenCourseware and The Ling Space.

Check out conlanging 

Intrigued by the heptapod inkblots? Making or learning a constructed language (conlang) is a fun way to learn more about how language works. 

There’s a whole society for conlangers which has an extensive list of resources, try searching for “conlang” on your favourite social network, or check out the books The Art of Language Invention by David J. Peterson (@dedalvs on tumblr) and In The Land of Invented Languages by Arika Okrent. 

Try the puzzles of the International Linguistics Olympiad

The puzzles of the linguistics olympiad are kind of like linguistic sudoku: you might have to match words and their translations, decipher unfamiliar writing systems, or figure out how to say a new phrase based on a couple examples. They’re logic puzzles as applied to language and don’t assume any background knowledge of linguistics. 

If you’re currently a high school student, you can actually compete in your national linguistics olympiad and potentially qualify for the international one. Regardless, there are a bunch of puzzles and solutions from previous olympiads on the website of the International, North American, UK, Australian, and other national linguistics olympiads. 


Want more linguistics media to consume beyond Arrival?

Read other linguistically interesting fiction

It doesn’t have to end at Story of Your Life! One similar story involving linguistic relativity and aliens is Embassytown by China Mieville. 

For more, check out this list of lingfic (fiction with a linguistics element). Make sure to read the comments for further ideas.  

Check out pop linguistics

Like pop science, there’s a whole field of linguistics explanations for a general audience. Each of these links will take you to a roundup post or tag page with lots of options to get you started: 

Linguistics blogs

Nonfiction books about linguistics 

Linguistic analyses of popular culture and internet language

Linguistics podcasts

Linguistics videos on YouTube
athousanderrors: from 'Spirited Away' - soot sprites, clutching confetti stars, running about excitedly. (Default)











that’s not………. how child speech works…………………………………………..

god okay in an attempt to be less of an asshole, here’s how child speech DOES work (or tend to work, at least)

kids tend to hypercorrect — this means that they tend to say things like “sleeped” instead of “slept,” “writed” instead of “wrote,” “goed” instead of “went,” etc

kids tend not to make errors such as omitting verbs (“i hungry”)

kids also tend not to make errors in the i/me, she/her department (“me am hungry”)

simplification of difficult sounds — consonant clusters especially, so things like st, sp, ps, etc., as well as f, v, th-sounds, ch-sounds, etc.

“babbling”-type utterances (“apwen” for “airplane,” using one babbly word for multiple objects, things like that) generally occur in children under the age of three and a half

say it with me: an eight-year-old child is not going to be saying “me hungwy”

do not confuse child speech with stereotypical learner english mistakes, that’s not only incorrect but also gross on the stereotypical learner english front (“me love you long time,” anybody?)

if you’re going to write kidfic please do some * research

Totally. It can be helpful to remind yourself that young children tend to speak as though the English language actually made sense. Our brains are pattern-recognising machines: children are really, really good at puzzling out the implicit rules of the English language, but they don’t necessarily know all the silly exceptions and bizarre edge cases that break those rules yet - those can only be learned through experience and rote memorisation.

Basically, when children who speak English as a first language make mistakes, it typically reflects a tendency to treat English as more grammatically, syntactically, and/or orthographically consistent than it really is. In some cases, this can be compounded by the fact that some kids will get offended at how little sense “proper” English makes, and insist upon using the more consistent forms even though they know very well that they’re technically “wrong”.

for a long young portion of my life I insisted on pronouncing Sean “SEEN” because that’s how it’s spelled.

As someone who spends a good majority of her time working with kids, it irks me to no end when I see children written as if they’re babies.

Past the age of about five or six years old, children can have deep, intellectual conversations about the most bizarre of things. I HAD A CONVERSATION LAST WEEK WITH FOUR THIRD GRADERS ABOUT THE GAS PRICES AND TAXES IN HAWAII.

Were they entirely correct in the facts they were giving? No, because it was all from what they had heard from parents or on the news. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that I was having a genuine conversation with four eight and nine year olds about taxes.

Just about the only speech problems most kids have, unless they have a speech impediment, is not being able to pronounce certain consonants (replacing ‘th’ with ‘fw,’ for example, and some letters are harder to form with your mouth than others) and doing exactly what the person above said: using the English language the way they know how, which isn’t always the way English works.

Kids aren’t stupid. Stop writing them like they are.

I was tutoring a little kid (second grade, I think). He was complaining about a worksheet. “This is hard.” I started to correct him as I knew he was more than capable of it and this bright kid, who had obviously heard the lecture before from others, interrupted me and said: “I know. I know. It’s not really difficult. It’s just time consuming.” Some kids are spooky-smart and even quite articulate.

If you need (plotwise) to emphasize that the child is specifically childish … have them tell the same joke to everyone they meet, cracking themselves up before they get to the punchline … have them ask “Why?” incessantly … have them fidgeting and possibly breaking things (”Oops.” “What?” “Nothing!” “WHAT?!”) … and if you have more than one kid, even of the same age, you don’t have to write them at the same intelligence level or emotional maturity. Some kids are messy and some are obsessively neat. Some are quiet, some loud. Some giggly, some surly. They basically come in the same range of personalities as adults. 

If you don’t want to invest a lot of time writing dialog for kids, just establish that you have a quiet kid. But a kid who gives single-word answers is usually doing so because they don’t like you (or trust you) or they are focused on their own thing and you’re interrupting them. It doesn’t mean they lack the vocabulary or that they don’t understand the adult conversation going on “over their head” (the more inappropriate the conversation, the more likely the kids are paying attention).

I have jabbed the back button so many times on terrible kid fic. This is an excellent resource - kid fic, when done well, is a real treat for me.

The only children I have ever met who did say things like “me hungwy” were the ones who had figured out that if they sounded “adorable” they could wrap adults around their precious little fingers. Kids get it.

Kids also slur and mumble a lot. Especially when they’re tired. They don’t say “me hungwy”, they say “M’hungry”, or “m’hung’y” cause it just takes too much effort or time to do a proper distinct ‘r’.

Really, with kids, it’s more about how they say the words than what they say. A sleepy kid can be adorable, but they’re either cranky as hell or nearly dead on their feet. A hungry kid is going to be cranky (again) or whiney. A bored kid’s going to be fidgety and/or whiney. etc. 

Not only all of this, but kids who have older siblings will usually take longer to start talking, but when they do they’re also more likely to use full sentences. This was the case for me - the youngest of three with a ten-year age difference between youngest and oldest. If I needed anything I could just point and “uh” and my siblings would get it.

By the time I hit three I would have been considered developmentally slow but it wasn’t the fact that I couldn’t articulate, simply the fact that I didn’t need to. Then suddenly I’m four and I’m spitting out full sentences with an accent that is not native to my region (I’m a Northern gal with a Southern accent that’s only now taken on an Irish lilt - again, not regional). 

The lack of needing to talk doesn’t mean your kid is slow or disabled or anything like that - even if it can in some cases. If the kid has got older siblings, chances are they figured out that their siblings know how to read them and thus don’t need to put effort into doing the humaning.

Adults patronise kids so fucking much that it’s damn near fucking offensive. A kid is young, not stupid. A kid might not know how to spell the word “contrary” but you can beat your ass that’s what they’re gonna be if you treat them like they can’t think beyond you using that damnable bubbly, high-pitched voice of every pain in the ass teacher who thinks young=dumb.

Fuck that shit.

Thing One was … five, maybe? One day she was driving me up the wall, and I threatened to put her out with the recycling in the morning. She put her hands on her hips, glowered at me, and said, and I quote: “You can’t do that, mummy. I’m organic.” 

Fair enough. 
athousanderrors: from 'Spirited Away' - soot sprites, clutching confetti stars, running about excitedly. (Default)
“It’s important to stay vigilant about the other transgressions going on with Trump, but examining this Hamilton thing isn’t frivolous. This is the country’s future leaders coming from a place of such DEEP insecurity that they can’t handle MILD criticism in a public forum. The press and the president-elect are attempting to shut down a reaction WELL within the rights of those expressing displeasure. If you think this is an isolated incident? That it won’t continue to happen every time free speech is exercised to dissent? I beg to differ. We’re getting our first looks at the character of this administration in power. Let’s not look away… Historically, leaders who abuse power have been extremely insecure, have overreacted to small slights. It’s already starting. And as artists, our work is often considered frivolous, unnecessary, as such it’s often the first to go when the hammer of oppression falls. Theaters closed, books burned, art irreverently depicting those in power prohibited. We’ve seen these warning signs with every rise. Don’t criticize people’s worry just because it’s related to art and not money or policy. It matters. Art matters. The cast of Hamilton made a heartfelt, onstage plea, using their visibility, to a leader that’s supposed to represent ALL of us. To have that rebranded by the president elect and the press as harassment (which is a CRIME by the way) is censorship, plain and simple… Art is our voice. Art is our joy. Art is our resistance. All the most successful oppressors have understood this. Don’t give it up willingly.”
- Tehlor Kay Mejia (via beachdeath)


athousanderrors: from 'Spirited Away' - soot sprites, clutching confetti stars, running about excitedly. (Default)

October 2017

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 161718192021

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 17th, 2017 01:49 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios