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Category: Talk the Talk (page 2 of 6)

Talk the Talk: Retard

I don’t like the term ‘retard’ and won’t use it. But isn’t it possible that this is just another case of semantic shift? Have we successfully uncoupled the ‘loser’ sense of the word from the ‘intellectually disabled’ sense? Probably not yet, but in that case, how long is it going to take?

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Talk the Talk: Ease v. Clarity

This was an interesting show for me because I always find it challenging to describe case to English speakers. We don’t use it, except for pronouns like we and us. But this experiment is all about how people use case, and it turns out that the way they used it in this experiment matches what people do in actual languages. Is that because we have an innate bioprogram, or just because it’s easier to do things that way? It’s hard to tell the difference.

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Talk the Talk: Political Gestures

It was fun talking about non-verbal communication, even though it’s hard to talk about it on the radio. But there were two recent cases of NVC that we had to discuss: Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech, and Joe Biden’s shenanigans in the recent Veep Debate.

You can sort of tell that Jess Allen and I are starting to lock in and get a rhythm going for our conversation, even if we sometimes miss each other’s cues. On the other hand, we really need to get her watching some TV.

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Talk the Talk: New Signs for New Times

Me and Jess are at it again, this time talking about sign languages and how they’re changing. I was horrified by some of the old signs (just like I’m horrified at some terms we use in spoken English), but hey, that’s why language changes.

I also did some digging on the different varieties of English-based sign languages. I wasn’t expecting ASL, BSL, and Auslan to have the same signs for so many words, since they really are different languages, but there really is a bit of convergence.

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Talk the Talk: Banned Books Week

We’ve been on quite a civil liberties thing lately, first with Blasphemy Day, and now with Banned Books.

I was all set to read some of Lady Chatterley’s Lover on air, but we didn’t get time. Even so, I think we would have tried it if someone had phoned in requesting it. It would have been good as a kind of readers’ theatre, with Jess as Lady Chatterley, and me as Oliver. On second thought, that might have been awkward.

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Talk the Talk: Our Land, Our Languages

Something really unexpected happened on this week’s podcast: we got an email right in the middle of it! It was so unexpected that we brought everything to a halt and read it out loud. Then it happened again. Would that all our Talk the Talk episodes were so interactive!

We were talking about Indigenous languages, and a new governmental report with recommendations that challenge the monolingual assumptions of many Australians. Along the way, I talked about Julia Gillard’s assertion that learning English is some kind of Australian civic duty, like voting or something. I think I might have used the term ‘linguistic fascism’.
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Talk the Talk: Blasphemy!

If you like Good Reason for the atheism, but not so much for the linguistics, then this episode of Talk the Talk might be for you. It’s about blasphemy, the recent Muslim film riots, and the need for Blasphemy Day (which is September 30 — get your costumes early!).

It’s a little soap-boxy, but I said what I wanted to say: The right to question — and even ridicule — religious ideas is important. There needs to be a way of saying, “This is a bad idea.” It’s wrong to give up that right just because it will hurt someone’s feelings. If someone is willing to resort to violence and murder when their ideas aren’t treated with kid gloves, then this is an admission that their ideas aren’t defensible using regular means, and are invalid. Muslims, I’m looking at you.

On the other hand not all religious people lose their shit when they get sent up. Even though I have no love for the Mormon Church, I do cite them as an example of how to respond to criticism and mockery.

It was fun to be a bit blasphemous on the radio, and it was fun to watch Jess Allen squirm more and more throughout the interview. The look on her face when she heard “Hasa Diga Eebowai” for the first time was truly priceless — I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

One-off show: Here
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Talk the Talk: Apple’s Genius Guide

I don’t usually read training manuals for fun, but Apple’s Genius Guide does have some interesting tips. Not just how to talk about computers, but how to read people, more or less.

Jonny Hopper’s in the chair today, taking over from Jess Allen. You have to check him out — the man has a great voice.

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Talk the Talk: Singing Mice

I’m learning all kinds of things about Jess Allen, the Tuesday host of RTRfm’s Morning Magazine. Like I never knew that she likes mice. Good thing I brought this topic, then: the fabulous singing mice of Costa Rica!

Watch as the male singing mouse lifts his head to the sky and belts forth a mighty…

Very tantalising, ¿no?

So we talk about some research involving mice, genetics, and sexual selection. Lots of fun.

One-off show: Here
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Talk the Talk: Language and bias

Walking around with an American accent is fine, but if you’re not in America, it can make you a little self-conscious sometimes. Unless you’re me, in which case you just go ahead and talk to people anyway, even on the radio. Even so, accent has an impact.

For today’s show, the lovely and talented Jess and I talk about some recent work showing that thinking in a foreign language forces you to think more analytically and keeps you from reflexively firing off opinions based on instinct. May be worth trying.

There’s other stuff about accent, and how imitating someone’s accent aids comprehension. And, of course, a shout-out to Mr Neil Armstrong, who faced his final frontier last week.

One-off show: Here
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