I don’t know exactly when or where, but at some point in the past few years, I stopped putting punctuation at the end of sentences. Why? The internet made me do itRead more
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There’s a language which is said to be the smallest language in the world. It has around 123 words, five vowels, nine consonants, and apparently you can become fluent in it with around 30 hours’ study. It was invented by linguist Sonja Lang in 2001, and it’s called Toki Pona.
And fellow Radiotopian Nate DiMeo, from the Memory Palace, decided we should learn it together.
- tokipona.org is your first stop for Toki Pona information, such as Sonja Lang's book and the Facebook group.
- This is the article that first piqued Nate's and my interest in Toki Pona. I also enjoyed reading about this two-day Toki Pona learning binge.
- A Finnish psychiatrist experimented with getting his patients to record their thoughts in Toki Pona every day.
- Hey, linguistic size queens: here's a piece comparing number of words in different languages, and here are some stats for you.
- I need to read In the Land of Invented Languages by Arika Okrent, who appeared in this early episode of 99% Invisible about Esperanto.
- There are a lot more invented languages; here are a few mentioned in this episode: Kēlen, Ithkuil, Blissymbols, Lojban, Klingon, Elvish, Na'vi...
- Here's the transcript of this episode.
At time of publication, there are 20 hours left to join the Radiotopia funding drive and support our thirteen shows (and attend to your own desires for challenge coins and Tshirts and such).
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- Nate DiMeo makes the beautiful podcast The Memory Palace thememorypalace.us.
- PRX are the power behind the Radiotopia throne. They work on many wonderful projects, and their latest is the Esquire Classic podcast, which you can find here.
- This episode was produced by me, Helen Zaltzman. Thanks to Eleanor McDowall.
- Martin Austwick provided all the music apart from the instrumental version of Survivor's 'Eye of the Tiger'.
- Communicate with me minimalistically at facebook.com/allusionistshow, twitter.com/allusionistshow and twitter.com/helenzaltzman.
As the fundraiser ends, so does this season of more frequent episodes with my Radiotopian comrades. I hope you enjoyed them! The show resumes its fortnightly schedule, so the next episode should appear on 2nd December 2015.
The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, which is supported by Mailchimp, the Knight Foundation, and listeners like you.
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The English language is a mess. And if you don't like it, what are you going to do about it - fix it? Good luck with that.
In the early 18th century, a movement of grammarians and authors wanted to set up an official authority to regulate English, like French had in the Academie Francaise. But is trying to fix a language a good move? Linguists Liv Walsh and Thomas Godard weigh up the evidence.
Apologies in advance, pedants: this episode may contain some truths you* don't want to hear.
- Some of the audio is a bit unclear, so here's a transcript of the show.
- Find out about the Academie Francaise, including what you'll need to do if you want to become one of Les Immortels. (You'll probably have to kill one of the current ones.)
- Here is Jonathan Swift’s language proposal and here is his Modest Proposal.
- This article summarises how most linguistic rules are just busking it; it also links to a 1909 paper about the subject that doesn't mess around.
- Thomas Godard recommends reading Fixing English by Anne Curzan and The Bishop's Grammar by Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade, and listening to PRI's The World in Words.
- The purists among you may wish to seek refuge with the Queen's English Society.
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MAILCHIMP'S RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
- Thanks very much to Dr Liv Walsh and Thomas Godard, and to Dr Rachele De Felice who helped me find them.
- This episode was produced by me, Helen Zaltzman. All the music is by Martin Austwick. Hear and/or download more - WITH LYRICS! - at thesoundoftheladies.bandcamp.com.
- Say hello to me at facebook.com/allusionistshow, twitter.com/allusionistshow and twitter.com/helenzaltzman.