12: Sounds you can’t hear - Babies, accents, and phonemes

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Sep 21 2017 29 mins   1.4k
Why does it always sound slightly off when someone tries to imitate your accent? Why do tiny children learning your second language already sound better than you, even though you’ve been learning it longer than they’ve been alive? What does it mean for there to be sounds you can’t hear? In Episode 12 of Lingthusiasm, your hosts Lauren Gawne and Gretchen McCulloch explore the fundamental linguistic insight at the heart of all these questions: the phoneme. We also talk about how to bore babies (for science!), how sounds appear and disappear in a language, and how to retain our sense of wonder when the /t/ you hear doesn’t match up with the /t/ I hear. LIVESHOW: Exciting news! We held our first liveshow on Saturday, September 23rd in Montreal, at Argo Bookshop. It was great to meet so many lingthusiasts at this sold out show. We’re looking forward to bringing the liveshow experience to more people, once we hit our Patreon goal. This month’s Patreon bonus was about linguistic research, and how to become the go-to person among your friends for linguistics questions when you don’t have a university or a research budget, as nominated and voted on by our patrons. You can get access to it and previous bonuses about language games, hypercorrection, swearing, teaching yourself linguistics, and explaining linguistics to employers by supporting Lingthusiasm on Patreon. http://patreon.com/lingthusiasm For the links mentioned in this episode, check out our shownotes page at: http://lingthusiasm.com/post/165591628291/lingthusiasm-episode-12-sounds-you-cant-hear