I hope Epitaph Records will forgive me for stealing and slightly altering the title of their 1998-2005 compilation of punk songs. My punishment should be to have an annoying song stuck in my head all day long. Instead, I’ll probably wimp out and listen to The Hives.
By Monday evening, I will be finished with instruction for the Spring semester. Perhaps when you are reading this, I will already be dancing on the table sedately celebrating the end of lesson planning for another term. I will still be grading papers and tests and figuring final course grades over the next week and a half, however, and by the end of it all, there will be no doubt about it. There will be dancing. On the table. With no photographic evidence of such.
While I’m working on a longer post for later this week, here are the links to some really interesting things I’ve seen around the Web in the last week or so.
- Noam Chomsky on language: If you are of a conservative bent and came across Chomsky’s presence in the political arena first, you may find yourself twitching at the sight of his name typed here. For me, however, he will always be the dominant linguist of the 20th century – our version of Freud, if you will. Here is a short video in which he discusses questions related to major debates in linguistics.
- For the Glory of the Mother Tongue: This article discusses the trend in Kenya for adults to return to school in order to learn their regional or tribal language that they didn’t learn sufficiently when younger. The reasons for this are varied and sometimes contradictory, but it’s a very interesting phenomenon from a sociolinguistic standpoint. My one quibble is the idea that a language could be a ‘mother tongue’ if it is not, in fact, a person’s first language. I suppose it’s simply a different usage of the term than it would be in most academic discourse on languages.
- Why do we talk? This is a very engaging hour-long BBC special that focuses on language as a spoken behavior, not just a cognitive behavior. The language instinct is so strong that it exists even in the absence of the ability to hear or speak, and gestural systems may have been the basis of language (as explained here, here, and here) but the fact remains that speech gave language a clear evolutionary advantage, and so it evolved as an predominantly oral/aural system. The special explains how neuroscientists are using brain imaging technology to start mapping linguistic ability in the brain.
Finally, I leave you with a teaser (extra credit to those who can identify the language, and extra special credit to anyone who can translate!):
Merkredon, vi legos pri konstru lingvoj.