Radio Inspire

How To Learn Sign Language

01: Speaking a single language won’t bring about world peace (Fun intro linguistics lecture)


L: Welcome to Lingthusiasm a podcast that’s enthusiastic about linguistics I’m Lauren Gawne. G: and I’m Gretchen McCulloch and today we’re going to be talking about universal language and why it doesn’t work but first a little bit about what Lingthusiasm is L: So i guess the important thing is to unpack “a podcast that enthusiastic about linguistics” G: yeah we chose our tagline because we’re here to explore interesting things that language has to offer and especially what looking at language from linguistics perspective can tell us about how language works L: both of its have blogs where we do a fair amount of that but that’s a fairly solitary enterprise and we wanted to take the opportunity to have more of a conversation something that’s a little less disembodied G: and we like that podcasts make you feel like part of a conversation and there’s a certain genre of linguist conversation that we think non-linguists don’t get to listen in on enough where we just are very excited about all the things that happened in linguistics L: and there’s general kind of nerdy and enthusiasm that you can often get like a glimpse of this when linguist interviews but the chance to have a chat to another linguist is something that we get to of a coffee but we know people don’t always get to hear that perspective and so that’s what this podcast is all about G: yeah so you can think of it as are sitting down over coffee and talking about linguisticsG: one thing that often comes up when we’re talking about languages and linguistics is wouldn’t it be great if everyone just spoke one language and there’s two things that come with that there’s the idea that could be feasible to make everybody speak one language and if so what should that language be and secondly is the promise that we associate with what it would even mean for everyone to speak the language even if that is feasible so we’re going to kind of break down those two pieces of the wish for everyone to speak the language. What would that look like and would it even work the way it’s advertised L: and it seems to be an idea that people continue to revisit and revisit in different forms and different ideas that we’re going to touch on a few of those today but it’s always this allure of something that will be utopian or more easier or if everyone just spoke the same language then then they’d be world peace because we’d all just get along G: yes, so preview I’m not a fan of it. Ii’m on the record have been called it the “common language equals piece fallacy” and I think it’s the seductive allure of like “wouldn’t be greater if everyone just got along” like the kind of Miss Universe wishing for world peace thing I don’t know that’s the analogy I want, but yeah i’m not a fan of it I think we’re going to see why L: this is definitely not like a debate style set up today either i should happily say that I agree and I’m perhaps more realistic about the realities of humanity when it comes to an idealistic concept like this G: it has given rise to some interesting stuff so let’s use it as an opportunity to talk about some of the interesting stuff that the wish for a common language has given us L: okay, definitely G: one of the best-known endeavors to get everyone to speak a common language and lead to peace on Earth is Esperanto and Esperanto is interesting because it’s a conlang so it was constructed to be a sort of neutral language that would supposedly be easy to learn and not reflective of any particular nationality because it was created to be this independent things so wasn’t like learning a language associated with a particular country and then the idea being that everyone can understand each other and living in peace and harmony and there’s a couple of issues with different parts of this. For one, Esperanto is not totally neutral it borrows a lot of words from various European languages and so it’s a lot easier to learn people who are already speak European language than for people who speak the language that’s not European so it’s not easy for everyone to learn is easy for a particular group of people to learn. L: so I’ve seen bits of Esperanto and I immediately think of French that’s being fed through some kind of Italian filter and then Spanish-ified. Like it definitely has a strong Romance language kind of vibe to it. G: it has a Romance kind of look because it tends to have this kind of consonant vowel sequences like romance languages do but actually also does have a lot of words from Slavic languages and from Germanic languages as well. So like the Esperanto word for dog is something like ‘hudo’ which is a German word like ‘hound’ it’s not something like ‘chien’ or something like that. L: the only Esperanto word I know is the word ‘hotdogo’ which is the Esperanto word for hotdog it’s not ‘hot hundo’ or whatever it is ‘hotdogo’ is my one piece of Esperanto G: but the Esperanto to word that I remember the best is ‘kai’ Kay-Ae-Ai, which is the word for ‘and’ L: yeah G: so again you can see that’s not very, it’s not very Romance sounding because it’s not ‘et’ or ‘a’ or some version some vowel-y thing (L: yep) and it’s not even Germanic sense because it’s not ‘and’ or ‘und’. ‘Kai’ is actually from Greek Zamenhof who’s the guy who created Esperanto did try to draw on multiple languages so ‘kai’ comes from Greek. I guess my personal story with Esperanto is I tried learning it when I was like 12. L: I am so not surprised. G: because I was that kid. I tried learning it when I was like 12 because I encountered this book about it on a bookshelf because this back before i was really using the internet very much and I encountered a paperback book about Esperanto and I was like oh yeah I’m going to read this because I’d like to see someone like you know putting out the arguments for and against and it turned out it was not a pros and cons book it was literally a grammar or like a ‘teach yourself Esperanto’ book so I was like ‘okay, fine’ i can’t read the pros and cons maybe I’ll just learn it L: impeccable logic, yeah G:this is what 12 year old Gretchen did when she was encountering a language. And so I got through chapter 1 which is how i learned the word for ‘and’ and ‘dog’ and then I got to chapter 2 and I learned that all of the feminine forms were diminutive of the masculine forms (L: ugh) so the word for men is like ‘homo’ or something like Homo sapiens and then the word for woman is ‘homeno’ (L: boo) which is like ‘-ien’ like the German -ine suffix. Like in German you have Sprachwissenschaftler which is a linguist speech scientists and you have Sprachwissenschaftlerin which is a female speech scientist L: I’m all ready to blow things up like so much for a language of peace G: yeah so first of all maybe this language is peaceful but it’s going to be a sexist peace so i’m not sure if I’m into it in fact I know I’m not into it L: yeah, fair enough G: and secondly this just seems uneconomical because as anybody who has spoken Spanish or something knows sometimes you really do want to be able to distinguish between a group that’s gender mixed or gender neutral and a group that is specifically only a plural of males. So in Spanish you have a word like ‘niño’ which can mean ‘boy’ or ‘child’ whereas ‘niña’ means ‘girl’ but ‘niños’ can mean either ‘boys’ or ‘children’ so you have to do like extra stuff you want to talk about a group of boys specifically (L: right) so it’s kind of uneconomical from a linguistic perspective to have your neutral word and your masculine word be the same word because this is genuinely a semantic distinction that’s useful to be able to make and Esperanto just can’t do it L: right G: so it’s a terrible language for a bunch of reading and the the main reason that I stopped when I was 12 which I think was a great decision on my part was that it was sexist. L: So Zamenhof was like a complete idealist G: he was a big idealist so the name Esperanto itself means one who hopes and this was his pseudonym Dr. Esperanto. So he was really hoping for kind of world peace and world understanding which is very nice and I think maybe because of his political ideals that was really why people did manage to learn Esperanto and it is kind of one of the more successful common languages according to Wikipedia up to two million people worldwide to varying degrees speak Esperanto L: but is that just people like me who go ‘hotdogs! yes!’ G: yeah so I don’t know if like you and I count because we know a few words of Esperanto or if you have to be like a more dedicated enthusiasts and some people have raised their children speaking Esperanto so as far as common languages go it’s had some success i but I’ve also heard you know as a conlang that it’s not considered a very good conlang so if you talk to conlangers and I know a few conlangers there is the kind of everyone’s first conlang which is pseudo-European everything combined (L: right) that still inherits a lot of the illogicalities of European languages that’s what this is. So that’s like a stage 1 conlang and then a stage two conlang is when you learn about all the other stuff other languages do when you try to make a language that does all of them L: it has 48 cases and clicks an evidentials G: yeah and ergativity and like it just does every single weird thing you can imagine from a language like too many of them so it’s ridiculously complex and then like by the time you get to your third conlang you’ve learned the value of restraint and you can really make a good conlang. This is what I’ve been told. So apparently Esperanto has all of the marks of a first conlang the story I like the most about Esperanto and its kind of optimistic naivety. Was that there were a whole bunch of people in commerce and stuff who like ‘Esperanto. Great idea. Universal language. Just tone down the optimism of world peace because it would be really great as like a commercial thing if we could have international trade through this unified language’ G: so world capitalism instead of world peace L: basically and they got so fed up they broke off and created this language called ‘Ido’ which I think means like daughter or child language and then basically it fell apart because they failed to maintain the drive G: they were insufficiently peaceful L: they were insufficiently peaceful maybe there is a kernel of Esperanto selling itself is the universal language of peace seems to have done a lot for its longevity G: I kind of think of Esperanto as with people who learn Esperanto is kind of like couch surfers (L: right) you know people who joined like the couch surfing web site and they meet people from around the world and they like sleep on each other’s couches and they really do like having experiences that are like connected to the local community (L: yeah) and I think that’s very nice it’s just a pity that they’re doing it with such a terrible language L: another language with someone tried to capture this idea of universal communication but from a completely different perspective was Blissymbols or Blissymbolics which were invented by a guy his name was Charles Bliss but this was a name he gave himself because he was Carl Blitz and that didn’t go down so well. He was Jewish and so he was interned in the Nazi camps and after he escaped the war moved to Shanghai he changed his name to Bliss because Blitz wasn’t the the best for a former German prisoner G: was he also emphasizing this hope aspect L: well i think it was part of this bigger personal brand (G: yeah) that he had is this like cheerful guy who was going to solve the world’s communications problems through a language that was all about visual iconic imagery and so he started learning Chinese was like oh the character for ‘man’ in Chinese characters looks like a man I’ll just take this to the full language and he and his wife spent all of his savings, which is kind of a reoccurring story seemed to get with Conlangs, him and his wife ploughed all their savings into him inventing these Blissymbols as an international ideographic written language, sent out copies of the book all over the world thinking – this is kind of the 1940s-50 – that he was going to revolutionize the way people connected and communicated and no one took it up G: yeah i remember reading about listen about Blissymbolics a couple years ago when I read Arika Okrent’s book The Land Invented Languages, but I think you just read that book right? L: yep and its really great G: I really enjoyed it and I forgotten now most of what she says about Blissymbolics but he tried to do this but there were a couple kind of tiny areas where he saw uptake right? L: yeah, so the idea went nowhere and then in the seventies this woman in Canada who worked with children who had either physical or cognitive disabilities found these symbols for her students to use to communicate. Shirley McNaughton is this woman. until that point all the children had with this board full of symbols for like ‘toilet’ or ‘bed’, really basic needs-based communication and she was convinced that these children could communicate more but they’re cerebral palsy would prevent them from speaking so she set out the symbols and use them as a way to teach these children to communicate so she’d have the symbol for a person and the symbol for bed and then the symbol for photos or something and and the children were together like I had a dream last night in something they’ve never been able to communicate people and it really took off in the organization she was working in Canada. And then it started spreading after sitting on a shelf for decades unused you finally have someone using them to communicate with people who couldn’t communicate before, it was really powerful. And then Charles Bliss was still alive and that’s like there’s just no way to tell story – I mean Arika Okrent does tell the story really beautifully, but I just can’t tell in a way where Charles Bliss doesn’t sound like a jerk but he kind of came into this situation and said you can’t teach the kids to use the symbols like this because she was using English grammar and in Sweden they were using them with the children to move on to Swedish so they were using them with like Swedish word order and everywhere they were bringing in variation to how the symbols were used as a way to go from like not communicating at all communicating with Blissymbols to communicating with words in the kids languages and Bliss said you’re ruining the universality of these symbols G: Like, so much for helping children no we can’t do that L: no we can’t help the children we need to maintain the authenticity of these Blissymbols G: yeah this guy really seems like a jerk L: in the end they ended up settling for like an absolute mass of money for him to give them the rights to use Blissymbols, like it was just horrible that you would go from being like ‘I’m all about communication and encouraging people to communicate’ to ‘you’re not using my invention properly so give me lots of money’ G: yeah the other thing I think is, because, I mean it’s not like Blissymbols had caught on elsewhere (L: nope) and I think that kind of speaks to this hope this kind of seductive hope especially when it comes to visual communication even beyond auditory communication that if only we could just like get the right graphic designer we could just kind of think this through we could figure out ways to just intuitively represent every single possible meaning in an immediately obvious sequence of little pictures that all humans will understand instantly and you won’t have to learn anything and I get this when it comes to emoji a lot because I do a lot of emoji interviews and stuff and some people say ‘oh yeah emoji they’re this universal language that you can understand immediately’ and I think it’s a similar problem that there’s a lot in emoji that is culturally specific or that is not universally understandable and there’s also a lot of meanings you can’t convey an emoji because they aren’t very easily picture-able L: it’s like those times that people are like ‘this thing got translated into emoji’ and you’re like ‘great translate it back out of emoji why don’t you?’ G: yeah you translate something into emoji and then when you translate it back it completely loses its meaning or you have to already understand what the source text was. Tthe other thing is people sometimes have a challenge where they’ll communicate just in emoji for a day or a week or a month or something and they all come back and they’re like’ yeah you know it was pretty easy to convey if I was happy or sad but it was really hard to say like actual sentences about things going on in the world or ideas that I had’ because – my favorite one is someone tried to do this and they said at the end ‘I was missing grammar’ I said ‘thank you’ because that’s what emoji don’t have L: or sometimes you find that people do – you find like temporary emergent communicative norms that will arise in these contexts where people are trying to use things G: yeah so for example one of the issues that comes up with emoji is how do you convey ‘I’ as in the subject of a sentence? you know ‘i would like you to do this’ or ‘I’m going to the store now’ and so what people will sometimes do is they’ll pick an emoji like a person emoji that looks kind of like them and they will say ‘okay great, this one stands for me’ you know so they’ll pick the man or the woman they will put the skin tone modifier on it and like ‘okay that stands for me’ but the only reason that the other person knows you’re using that to stand for you is because you’ve developed this convention otherwise it could be a person who looks like this who is not necessarily me who does this and this is a pretty basic concept that we just have a massive difficulty communicating with emoji L: and we also are really, I mean we’re not lazy, we just use the linguistic structures that we have of course it’s ‘person’ and then ‘bus’ because English is ‘I am on the bus’ G: right, but in other languages you can have like ‘bus, I am on it’ or something like that L: I enjoy whatever anyone’s like ‘look we made sentences in emoji’, I love sitting there and like translating them really badly yeah I issued a challenge on Twitter a while back which was if you want to assert that emoji are language that’s fine you just have to do that in emoji L: oh snap G: yeah and you have to like make someone who doesn’t know that’s what you’re intending be able to read that sentence because any language that we have, you know, even Esperanto, I don’t know maybe in these Blissymbolics can assert that it’s a language like there’s a way to say in Esperanto ‘Esperanto is a language’ L: yeah G: and so I got all these responses and you read them and I was you know having a lot of fun providing naive interpretations of them something like ‘I get happy when I sing the alphabet song’, you know?’ L: so not that successful so far G: not that successful so far, and I don’t think it’s for lack of creativity I think it’s because that’s not what emoji are designed to communicate that’s not what obvious pictures are designed to communicate there’s a limit to how much meaning can be obvious because we have all these abstract things that we mean and lots of stuff that we talk about is not picture-able L: I get this a lot as well when I talk to people about gesture and people are like ‘ah gestures are like the great universal thing that humans have’ ‘you know when I travel I don’t learn to speak the local language because of we can get by with gesturing’ and I’m like well, yes, you can get by with gesturing if all you want to do is point at things and be a bit obnoxious but actually beyond the fact that as far as we can tell every society seems to have gestures a lot of what we presume is universal about gesture is partly based on this iconicity so that’s something that ties it to emoji and Blissymbols in a way, because there’s some relationship between the gesture or the emoji and the thing it’s representing or referring to G: yes so if you like if you put your hand up to your mouth that conveys eating or drinking or something because when you eat you put things in your mouth, so of course that’s what it means L: in the way a smiley emoji resembles the way your lips curl up when you’re happy this kind of visuality of it makes people think well I can understand it so it must be universal but more and more we look at the way different cultures gesture – even something as simple as pointing. We for a long time for that index finger pointing was the the default universal way to point. And in fact we now know cultures point with their lip. Um, we know that some people in some cultures because of various taboos or because of style preferences will point with their eyes or their eyebrows and there’s a whole collection of different handshapes you can use to point in indigenous communities in Central Australia so people will point with an open hand which means a collection, I’m pointing at a collection of things and also there’s taboos in some communities on pointing, or pointing with the index finger, or pointing with the left hand instead of the right hand G: and you know even even in English point with your middle finger can sometimes L: in Nepal where I spend a lot of time that is a lot of free variation between index finger and middle finger pointing um and my Westerner sensibilities still giggle at that G: yeah I had a had a piano teacher once who just at point with everything with his middle finger and I was thinking I know you’re just pointing to the stuff but it’s really distracted right now L: so people are like ‘we could all just gesture to each other’ or all and sign language and like sign language is still have all the same grammatical requirements of spoken languages G: yeah with an occasional bit of iconic convenience for you to learn signs but ah it’s not going to bring about world peace G: yeah, I mean that there’s some iconic stuff about spoken languages as well there was an interesting recent study trying to look at statistically what are some iconic things that show up and spoken languages like the word for ‘nose’ tends to happen an ‘n’ it because the ‘n’ sound is a nasal sound is produced by putting air out of your nose and so in something like two-thirds of the world’s languages the word for nose has an ‘n’ in it which is you know statistically improbable I guess that’s what they found but two-thirds is a high number for statistics but it’s not a universal L: good as been getting G: like it’s not every language it’s just a lot of them you know it’s cool that sometimes you get this. It’s part of the way there but it’s not going to automatically give you an entire vocabulary in another language, because there’s a lot of stuff that’s not obviously iconic L: grammar, we’re back to grammar. G: This is why languages are great because they have all this grammar and they’re not completely obvious L: so a lot of people now are like ‘well you know we’re basically there with English so let’s just make English the universal language’ one industry where that is actually kind of happening is aviation so you have something now called ‘Aviation English’ which is an attempt to make sure that people who work in the International Civil Aviation Organization all speak a degree of a particular kind of English that has very set terminology and very set word order and features like that, so that there aren’t any miscommunications. In 1977 at tenerife airport two boeing 747s collided, and it was basically because one took off too early because the person in the control tower and the pilot weren’t really communicating clearly. The pilot said something non-standard that they were taking off and the person in the control tower assumed that they were going through the standard motions and requesting permission to take off and instead of giving the correct reply just said ‘ok’ which the pilot took as ‘okay you can take off now because that’s what you just said you would do’ and so that plane collided with another plane midair and many people died and so now there is very precise standardized phraseology and there’s also a radio telephony it’s the International Phonetic Alphabet that’s not the linguistic phonetic alphabet the ‘Alpha Bravo Charlie’ G: I mean it’s useful because ‘b’ and ‘c’ and ‘d’ and ‘e’ and stuff they sound very similarly they all have an /e/ sound and so if you’re not quite sure what consonant came with them especially over a terrible radio signal that’s really fuzzy it’s easy to misinterpret. L: it’s also the one that ensures that you have to say ‘niner’ instead of ‘nine’ G: yeah and you see it sometimes, I mean, I’ve encountered if you’re like on the phone with your bank or something and you’re spelling something for them and people sometimes use kind of an ad-hoc system like you don’t have necessarily have memorized the international aviation one but you just pick a common names so you say like ‘n’ as in ‘Nancy’ or ‘m’ as in ‘Michael’ because N & M sound very similar over the phone so there’s various ways to kind of get by these degraded communications. Another one that I find is very cool which is about like let’s just do everything in English but it still got this high-stakes aspect is on the ISS on the International Space Station, where you have astronauts from the US and from other English speaking countries you have cosmonauts from Russia and obviously it’s very important to get your communication right if you’re on a tiny metal box circling the Earth or going somewhere you know you don’t want to like have a miscommunication there because you could end up floating in space in the wrong way and so one of the things that they do on the ISS so first of all every astronaut and cosmonaut needs to be bilingual in English and Russian because those are the languages of space L: yep. The language of space are English and Russian? I’m sorry I just said ‘yep’ and then I didn’t really think about the fact that that’s a fact is it? G: I mean pretty much, yeah, if you go on astronaut training recruitment you know forums which I have gone on for research for this episode… L: we’re going to have a backup job Gretchen. G: I don’t think I’m going to become an astronaut but I would like to do astronaut linguistics. And so one of the things they say, you know you need to know like stuff about math and engineering and, like, aerodynamics and like you also fly planes in you know the military and stuff like this are various things people need to know. And they also, you know, you either have to arrive knowing English and Russian or they put you through an intensive language training course (L: ok) when they’re up in the air one of the things that they try to do is have the English native speakers speak Russian and a Russian speakers speak English (L: right) because the idea is if you speak your non-native language then you’re sure what you’re saying and the other person can understand you better. Whereas if you speak your native language maybe you’re speaking too fast or maybe you’re not sure if the other person’s really understanding you, to get a better kind of comprehension check. If you both speak the language you’re not as fluent in then you arrive at a level where where people can be sure that the other person’s understanding and there’s kind of this hybrid English Russian language I think that’s developed not a full-fledged language but kind of a L: Space Creole G: this space pidgin that the astronauts need to speak with each other and I don’t know if anyone’s written a grammar of this, I hope is the case that someone has written a grammar of. space pidgin L: that is amazing G: I mean it kind of reminds me of, like you do get trade languages back you know kind of pre space-age the original lingua franca is a Frankish dialect an earlier version of French spoken around the Mediterranean by sailors and stuff from a bunch of different areas and they all speak this kind of trade language with each other, you know, ‘space is the final frontier’ or something like that L: yeah and we can all speak a Russian English pidgin and then we can colonize Mars and turn into a proper Space Creole G: and everything will just become like A Clockwork Orange like I don’t see what was wrong with this L: how could this plan go wrong. The thing that upsets me the most about the one language bringing peace and happiness fallacy is that like we just know it’s wrong from the evidence. People who speak the same language don’t inherently get along and often find ways to hate on each other for speaking the same but ever so slightly different varieties of a language G: do people who think that if we all spoke the same language we’d get along, have ever been in a family? Have they never had arguments? L: you have people who have grown up in exactly the same linguistic environment. G: yeah like people get married and then they get divorced it’s not because they don’t speak the same language it’s because they have irreconcilable differences L: they probably think the same language too well so they can say all the horrible things to each other. G: yeah like you fight with your siblings or something like it’s not because you don’t speak the same language just don’t get along. L: so Australia English as far as like, you know – you look at America and there’s quite a lot of linguistic diversity for one country. Australia is very linguistically homogeneous but when there’s a state-based or city-based linguistic variation in Australian English we just lose our collective shit over it. It’s kind of impressive how homogeneous Australian English is and how disproportionately outraged people get about variation. One war that kind of flames up every few years is something known as the ‘potato cake potatoes scallop’ was. If you go to a fish-and-chip shop in Australia a particular menu item that’s available is a like large disk of potato that’s deep fried and it’s very tasty and it’s great like everyone should want to eat them but for some reason in Victoria and South Australia they’re known as potato cakes in New South Wales and Queensland they’re known as scallops or potato scallops and this just upsets people so much G: I’m kind of baffled by this because I’m Canadian and I have both the item potato cake and potato scallop they just refer to different things L: so what do they mean in Canadian English? G: so neither of them is your thing L: so both of them are the wrong thing. G: both of them are the the right thing. Anyway we’re not going to have this argument. So potatoes scallop is like a casserole (L: ok) you slice the potatoes and then you make like a cream sauce and then you bake it in the oven L: ah, see that’s scalloped potatoes G: oh, see scallop potatoes and potato scallop are the same thing for me L: right ok. then a potato cake is kind of more like your thing but it’s not necessarily deep-fried and sometimes there’s fish involved i guess this fish cakes. L: oh well that’s terrible then G: no but you like you just beat the potato but you don’t necessarily deep-fried it you could just pan-fry it L: okay G: i think people project their differences and their opinions about other people on the languages it’s not as though the language comes with these particular distinctions itself it’s a proxy for things you think about particular good people or the simmering ethnic divides in Australia between people who live in Victoria people who don’t L: or just the simmering geographic divides. There’s nothing ethnic, there’s nothing particularly linguistic, it’s purely that the Victorians and the New South Welsh will find any reason to disagree and we don’t always have that many so we were reduced to like bickering over fried food. G: at a larger scale I think people see things like these trade languages or aviation English things like that or like international symbols for like the Olympics where you can see the symbol and see okay which sporting event does this refer to. You think ‘Wow! OK, people can kind of understand each other maybe if we had more of this we could do more of this trade.’ But there’s still a big divide when it comes to nationalistically, you know there are civil wars they have there been many of them in history and they aren’t because people don’t speak the same language in the same country they’re because they do think the same language and they realize that they hate each other. Or, imposing a language on people just so that you can all speak the same language, you know, this leads to resentment. L: English as a lingua franca days we have to remember is because of fairly gratuitous and heinous colonial expansion by the British. G: yeah, Latin as a common language was also due to Latin/Roman imperial expansion. And sometimes you get a common language but it’s not because people just wake up one day and they like to decide that they want to speak this language is because they were forced to many cases. L: I talked about Australia being a place where people can get really riled up about the different and potato cake and a potato scallop and you can think of Australia as being really culturally homogeneous because of that. Like, if that the level of difference that we’re trying to pick a fight about. But actually, Australia is amazingly linguistically diverse and amazingly full of cultural diversity and I think sometimes people can get so caught up in thinking that one language will solve all of these problems that we run the risk of attempting to homogenize or losing really wonderful diversity. G: yeah i think just as language can be at thing that we project, you know, our feelings about particular people on it also think that we protect kind of our hopes for humanity on – every Miss America contestant does want world peace but we do want peace we do want people to be able to get along least in theory. It’s just that I think of pluralistic way of ‘wouldn’t be great everyone spoke multiple languages’ is maybe more likely to get us there. L: Send your complains to us in the form of emoji G: and we’ll read them out loud on this audio podcast L: for more lingthusiasm and links to all the resources and media mentioned in this episode go to lingthusiasm-dot-com you can listen to us on iTunes, Google Play Music, Soundcloud, or wherever else you get your podcasts and you can fully Lingthusiasm on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and other social networks L: I also Tweet and blog as Superlinguo G: and I can be found at GretchenAMcC on Twitter and my blog is All Things Linguistic.com Lingthusiasm is created and produced by Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne and music is by The Triangles. Stay Lingthusiastic!

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