As a pet owner, I often find myself wondering if my dogs are actually “saying” what I have interpreted from their barks, whines, and sighs. When they bark at the door to go outside or at the window when a car passes by, are they using language that I just can’t understand? While dogs definitely […]
Browsing Tag: Language
What’s the difference between sign languages and verbal languages? Their modality!
Both sign language and verbal (also referred to as spoken) language are full forms of language (full stop!). They just use different forms of physical expression, known as modalities. Verbal language involves the oral-auditory modality, which is based on the sounds that humans can produce with their vocal tracts and understand with their hearing. Sign […]
Words Create Worlds: Guest Post from the Children’s Cochlear Implant Center at UNC
The Children’s Cochlear Implant Center at UNC is a world-renowned pediatric cochlear implant program, staffed by 4 full time audiologists and 6 full time Listening and Spoken Language certified speech and language pathologists. The Children’s Cochlear Implant Center provides individualized therapy for children with all levels of hearing loss, and learning opportunities for hearing care […]
Reach Out and Read: Books as a Pediatrician’s Secret Tool
Dr. Elizabeth S. Erickson, MD is an excellent pediatrician in Durham and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Duke University School of Medicine. She kindly agreed to write about a program she uses daily in her own practice, Reach Out and Read, which aims to promote early language skills and improve literacy later on in […]
Why does the pitch and rhythm of my speech change what I mean?
The word prosody refers to the tune and rhythm of language. In spoken language, prosody provides information beyond the dictionary definitions of the words we say. Consider how you’d say the word “okay,” in the following scenarios: A coworker says, “I’ll call you at two o’clock.” Someone tells you that you won a free vacation. […]
Do words look or sound like what they mean? Sometimes! Iconicity vs. Arbitrariness
How much does a word resemble what it refers to? In languages, we use words to symbolize many things, like objects, concepts, sounds, people, actions, and anything else we might want to say! But why do certain words symbolize certain things? Why is a couch a couch? Many times, there’s no real reason!* Linguists use […]
Yes, you speak your own language: idiolects
Idiolects make everyone sound different. Similar to a dialect, an idiolect is a personal dialect. Just like groups of people have regional dialects and accents, every individual person has a unique way of speaking (or signing). They may vary in how fast or slow they talk, how they pronounce certain words, how breathy or raspy their […]
What is a dialect? Do I have one?
Someone doesn’t sound like you. Are they speaking in a dialect? A dialect is a variety of a language that signals where a person comes from. When you hear people talk, not everyone sounds the same, even when they are speaking the same language! This is often because they are speaking in different dialects. When […]
What is a language? How can we define it?
Language lets people share complex ideas. A language is a system of communication consisting of a system to form words, a system to assign meanings, and a grammar. When considering what language is, there are many different factors to take into account. One of these factors is grammar, which is the set of rules that […]