The Inca did not have a written language but they did store and transfer information via a system of knots in rope that is still being decoded cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/…
From 1906-1920, there was a movement in the US to remove all silent letters and irregular spellings from the English language (eg: although->altho), funded by Andrew Carnegie and supported by Teddy Roosevelt en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sim…
Tolkien wrote yearly letters to his children as if they were from Father Christmas. They started off as simple Happy Christmas letters but grew more complex including a polar bear sidekick, the man on the moon, goblins, snow-elves, pictures, and he even developed an Arktik language. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The…
America recruited 29 Navajo speaking men during world war 2, who later came to be called, Navajo code talkers. They had created a brand new set of code words in Navajo language, which even if intercepted could not be translated by the enemy forces. azcentral.com/story/news/…
No matter the language, we all exchange information at 39 bits/second, suggesting a biological limit. Languages that are lower information density are spoken fast (Spanish & Japanese) while denser languages are spoken more slowly (Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese). advances.sciencemag.org/c…
Prairie dog language is complex. They don’t just have a call for β€œdanger”: their calls differentiate human, hawk, domesticated dog, coyote etc. and specify size & color. One study found that they can communicate β€œHere comes the short human in the yellow” (vs the tall human in blue) to each other npr.org/2011/01/20/132650…
In the 1870’s and 80’s a Polish ophthalmologist named L. L. Zamenhof created the language Esperanto, aiming for it to be an easy to learn universal language. His goal was to promote world peace and better worldwide understanding of each other. esperantic.org/en/researc…
I learned that Drake Bell moved to Mexico after finding out he was popular there, changed his name to "Drake Campana", posts on social media in Spanish and also sings in the language comicbook.com/irl/news/dr…
After a Polish Admiral of German descent JΓ³zef Unrug was taken prisoner during WW2, his former Imperial German Navy friends came to visit him. Unrug refused to speak German with them, saying that he had forgotten that language in September 1939 the day Germany invaded Poland en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C…
A researcher recorded more than 100 animal handlers and found it's pretty much universal -- regardless of the language spoken or the animal being handled -- that humans use short, repeated sounds to get an animal to go or speed up, and long, slow sounds to get an animal to stop or slow down. patriciamcconnell.com/the…
The Maltese language is descended from the time of Muslim Arab control over Malta a millennium ago. The Arab language survived Christian reconquest, but disconnected from the Arab world, absorbed Italian/Sicilian/English vocabulary, evolving into Maltese today. It is written with Latin script. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mal…
Bilingual reduced emotional resonance is a fairly well-established phenomenon were many bilinguals report β€œfeeling less” in their second language, which might make it easier to use highly emotional vocabulary, and swear. theguardian.com/science/b…
Despite censoring "dirty" language in songs, Kidz Bop has been criticized due to changing ONLY individual lyrics and not the overall meaning and themes of songs. A University of Colorado professor called Kidz Bop "an abomination" due to it only censoring lyrics and not the overall content. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kid…
Human languages are equally effective at transmitting information. Languages with a faster speech rate have a corresponding lower information density. cnrs.fr/en/similar-inform…
Empire actor Terrence Howard believes that "1 Γ— 1 = 2". He has even created his own mathematical language of logic called "Terrology", to try to prove it. He claims he quit an engineering degree at the Pratt Institute over disagreements with a professor regarding his hypothesis. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ter…
The Office character Dwight Schrute didn't just speak the Dothraki language from Game of Thrones, he improved it: the writers correctly used its grammar and invented a new construction. David J. Peterson, the language's creator, made it canon and named it the Schrutean compound. dothraki.com/2012/10/doth…
The Kazakh singer/songwriter Dimash Kudaibergen has a vocal range of 6 octaves and 5 semitones and has performed songs in 12 different languages. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dim…
Dolphins have a highly developed spoken language, similar to the human language. This indicates a high level of intelligence and consciousness in dolphins. In addition to this, dolphin brains are somewhat larger and more complex than human ones. sciencedirect.com/science…
The equivalent of the English-language idiom "comparing apples and oranges" in Serbian is "grandmothers and toads"; in Romanian it's "the grandmother and the machine gun" or "the cow and the longjohns"; and the equivalent Danish idiom is "What is highest, the Round Tower or a thunderclap?" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/App…
(According to Brent Berlin and Paul Kay's 1969 study Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution) Names for brown, purple, pink, orange, and gray will not emerge in a language until the language has made a distinction between green and blue. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bas…
Today I learned about Washoe, a female chimpanzee who was the first non-human to learn to communicate using American Sign Language. She learned approximately 350 signs. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Was…
The language with the fewest words is Taki Taki (also called Sranan), which only has 340 words. vistawide.com/languages/l…
Profanities, vulgarities and obscenities are all distinctly different from one another. Profanity relates to religious matters like blasphemy. Obscenity typically relates to sexual matters. Vulgarity is coarse language. mentalfloss.com/article/2…
Linguistic philosopher J. L. Austin made the claim that there is no language in which a double positive implies a negative during a lecture. To which someone responded, "Yeah, yeah." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._…
India has more English speakers who speak it either as their first language or second language than the US,UK and Canada combined. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lis…
Thomas Young proved that light is a wave, described elasticity, capillary action, explained how our eyes focus and see color, compared the grammar and vocabulary of 400 languages, deciphered hieroglyphs and contributed to music theory. He is called "The Last Man Who Knew Everything". en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tho…
The English language term "smoking" was coined in the late 18th century; before then the practice was known as "drinking smoke". en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smo…
Futurama's gag about French being an undecipherable dead language was replaced with German being the dead language in the French dubs. thelinguafile.com/2015/01…
Many languages such as Korean or Japanese have 1 word for both blue and green. The situation it is used in determines what color the word refers to. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blu…
There are languages with no words for left or right, forward and backward and only use compass points (NSEW) and because of this these people have an incredible sense of direction languagetrainers.com.au/b…
The JΓ¨rriais language spoken by a few thousand on the island of Jersey located between France and England, is the closest living language to medieval Anglo-Norman spoken by the descendants of William the Conqueror. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JΓ¨r…
Martha's Vineyeard had their own sign language that was commonly used until 1952. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mar…
Evolutionary musicologists believe that human ancestors evolved musical ability to help signal alliances between rival groups, long before advanced languages emerged, among other theories. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evo…
There are only 6 people left on the planet who can still β€˜speak’ the whistled language known as sfyria. bbc.com/travel/story/2017…
We know the exact date the Dalmatian language (one of the Romance languages) went extinct: June 10th, 1898. It is the day the last speaker of the language, Tuone Udaina, died in an explosion. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dal…
Today I learned about Cryptophasia, or 'twin speak'. Up to 50% of twins will create their own language, which only they can understand, including made-up words and a rudimentary grammar system. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cry…
Today I learned about Kurt Lee, who was the first Asian (US) Marine Corps officer, when fighting in the Korean War used his Mandarin language skills to confuse the enemy soldiers and infiltrate their positions during the battles around Inchon. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kur…
Every 14 days a language goes extinct, and since 1950 nearly 4% of all human languages have died off. global-lingo.com/every-14…
"Mele Kalikimaka" is just a phonetic approximation of the words "merry Christmas" in the Hawaiian language. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel…
English is the most widely spoken language in the world (non-native). ethnologue.com/guides/eth…
In 2015, French radio revolted against the law which compelled them to air 40% French language music. Due to lack of popular new French music, Just 10 songs accounted for 74% of all French music aired on NRJ radio france24.com/en/20150928-…
The poet Charles de Gaulle, uncle of the general/politician of the same name, was fluent in Breton, Welsh, and Gaelic. Additonally de Gaulle wrote extensive poetry in the languages, but never visited a Celtic-speaking country, as his poor health confined him to his apartment in Paris. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cha…
The Hoovers both spoke Mandarin. In the White House they would speak in Mandarin to avoid eavesdroppers. To date, Lou Hoover is the only First Lady to speak an Asian language. They were also well versed in Latin; working together to translate "De Re Metallica" a 16th century mining textbook. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lou…
Bill Kipsang Rotich, who voiced Nien Nunb, Lando's co-pilot in Return of the Jedi, became a celebrity in his native Kenya as he used East African languages for the role. He later reprised his role for the Sequel Trilogy en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bil…
Portuguese is the most widely spoken language in the Southern Hemisphere en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Por…
Today I learned of "Zonal" languages. Zonals are like universal languages but for a specific language family. Slavic, Germanic, and Romance languages would all have their own "Zonal" designed using familiar rules/logic/alphabet/etc. The goal is promoting greater regional cohesion in a language zone. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zon…
Some languages like English and Mandarin Chinese are spoken slower than others, like Spanish and Japanese, with 20-30% fewer syllabes spoken per second. However, in "slower" languages, more information is conveyed in fewer words, but same amount of information is communicated per unit of time. transfluent.com/en/2015/0…
Some indigenous people are known to have deciphered bird language and used it to locate predators that birds were warning other birds about popsci.com/learn-bird-lan…
Today I learned about two connected areas in the brain vital for human understanding. Broca’s area, associated with our ability to articulate ideas and produce speech. And Wernicke’s area, a critical language area primarily involved with comprehension. memory.ucsf.edu/symptoms/…
Today I learned about Nim Chimpsky, a chimpanzee from the 70's who was raised like a child to see if chimpanzees could learn sign language. Nim loved cats, and learned to ask for marijuana. He ultimately fell into a deep depression when his original caretakers abandoned him. npr.org/2011/07/20/138467…

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