Mysterious language spoken by less than 1000 people, discovered in…

A group of linguists doing research in northeastern India have accidentally stumbled across the linguistics equivalent of a rare jewel: Koro, a language completely unlike others in the region, spoken by only a tiny number of people. » 10/11/10 2:00pm 10/11/10 2:00pm

The many meaning(s) of “Uh(m)”s

What does "Uh(m)" mean? Professional linguists from a selection of highly respected international academic institutions have pondered the question in detail over the years, but now a new paper goes considerably further towards consolidating the answer(s).

From Emanuel A. Schegloff, Professor Emeritus at the… » 9/25/10 7:45am 9/25/10 7:45am

Computer program deciphers a dead language that mystified linguists

The lost language of Ugaritic was last spoken 3,500 years ago. It survives on just a few tablets, and linguists could only translate it with years of hard work and plenty of luck. A computer deciphered it in hours. » 6/30/10 1:20pm 6/30/10 1:20pm

Talk Monkey to Me: Monkey Language Contains Simple Sentences

While other primates have exhibited simple vocabularies, it has long been believed that syntax, the construction of sentences, was unique to humans. But a recent study suggests that at least one species of monkey communicates in vocalized sentences. » 12/08/09 7:40am 12/08/09 7:40am

Avatar Linguist Wants Na'vi Language to be the Next Klingon

The Na'vi language in Avatar isn't just a collection of pretty sounds. It's an actual language, constructed by a USC linguistics professor, complete with its own grammar and syntax. He talks language creation, and explains how Na'vi compares with Klingon. » 11/23/09 7:40am 11/23/09 7:40am

Father Teaches his Son Klingon as a First Language

Some parents try to teach their infant children a foreign language, but d'Armond Speers took his son's linguistic education to a whole new level. Speers claims that he spoke to his son only in Klingon for the first three years of the boy's life. Not only did his son start parroting the alien language; Speers' interest… » 11/19/09 6:20am 11/19/09 6:20am

Scientist Writes the "Ideal" David Bowie Song

Can science create the ultimate David Bowie song? Psychologist Nick Troop has performed a psycholyrical analysis of David Bowie's most successful songs, using that analysis to create what he claims are lyrics to the ideal Bowie tune. » 8/27/09 10:30am 8/27/09 10:30am

The Way of the Klingon Linguists

To make up for the sad lack of Klingons in the new Trek flick, there's a great article over at Slate about the Klingon language. Written by Akira Okrent, a linguist who was studying conlangs (constructed languages), it is the funny and often moving story of how she went from amused observer of people who speak Klingon… » 5/08/09 3:35pm 5/08/09 3:35pm

All the Best Alien Languages in One Place

If you're fascinated by alien languages and futuristic human slang, you're in luck. Eastern Michigan University, with the help of linguistics-loving scifi author Suzette Haden Elgin, has put together an exhaustive list of scifi novels that feature every flavor of strange, imaginary language. A couple of weeks ago we… » 3/24/08 8:40am 3/24/08 8:40am