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Fry's Planet Word

2011 ,    » 272 Comments
Ratings: 7.50/10 from 6 users.

Fry's Planet WordIn this five-part series, Stephen Fry explores language in all its amazing complexity, variety and ingenuity. In his own distinctive way, he comes to understand how we learn it, write it, sometimes lose it, why it defines us to the very core of our being and can make us laugh, cry, tear our hair out and simply inspire us.

Babel. In this first episode, Stephen seeks to uncover the origins of human language and how and why we are the only species on the planet to have this gift. From attempts to teach chimps to speak to the so-called singing mice who have been given the human language gene, Stephen uncovers to what extent our brain is uniquely hard-wired for language.

Identity. What is it that defines us? Stephen argues that above all, it is the way we speak. Be it a national language, a regional dialect or even class variation - we interpret and define ourselves through our language. From markets in Kenya to call centers in Newcastle, Stephen charts the shifting patterns of lingua franca and the inexorable spread of Globish (Global English).

Uses and Abuses. This programme looks at the ways language is used and abused. While not everyone approves of bad language, Stephen learns that swearing plays an important part in human communication the world over. He undergoes an MRI scan and discovers the parts of the brain associated with swearing - and meets a sufferer of Tourette's and a stroke patient who swear they can't help using the f-word.

Spreading the Word. In this programme, Stephen Fry explores the written word. Writing is a great invention - making it possible to communicate across space and time. Without writing we would have no history and very little technology. Stephen discovers the earliest writing - cuneiform - at the British Museum, and learns how our alphabet came from the Phoenicians.

The Power and the Glory. In this programme, Stephen Fry celebrates storytelling. It has been with us as long as language itself and as a species, we love to tell our stories. This desire to both entertain and explain has resulted in the flowering of language to describe every aspect of the human condition. Stephen asks just what makes a good story and why some writers just do it better. He reveals what stories make him shiver with joy or, conversely, shudder with horror.

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272 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Earthwinger

    I don't think that I've ever seen a Stephen Fry doc. that I've disliked. This is probably one of my favourites to date though. The second part is an absolute hoot, especially the bit with Brian Blessed.

  2. Guest


  3. knowledgeizpower

    Yeah I do not think I have either lol.. I have not seen this one yet but I have a feeling this is going to be good! I enjoy Stephen Fry's work....Peace

  4. Guest

    Finally, something I can really sink my teeth into, for the first time in a while... Love language, love Fry. Great combination.

  5. Sieben Stern

    Loved the swearing ep - especially the darling f*ck biscuit turrets woman XD

    and the idea that the ability to swear at someone instead of hitting, biting or scratching is marvelous ^^ cursing makes us human, who'd'a thought!

  6. Guest

    I'm done the second part and i will say....well done and easy to follow, i am discovering a liking to Fry.
    Will watch the rest tomorrow. Good dreams!

  7. Yi Wen Qian

    Stephen Fry lights up the god area of my brain, it's a shame that he isn't visiting my city. :( Everyone should also watch Qi, it's awesome!

  8. Guest

    I'm savouring this, like sucking chocolate.

  9. Yi Wen Qian

    That's why swear words should remain taboo! Now there a scientific reason!

  10. Guest

    Kind of a dangerous sentence! lol.
    I love stuff on languages...Did you ever see that old series 'The Story of English' ? That one was extremely comprehensive, must've been 10 or 12 hours of VHS tapes, if I remember correctly.

    I've watched the first two of these so far, and am hoping at some point he'll cover a little bit on the consonantal impossibility of Welsh, since my mother's side is from there, and I've always taken some pride in that.

    Nice flag! Merlin, and all that, lol.

    edit- Excuse me, Myrddin...

  11. Guest

    What, so we end up lobbing each others heads off in the interest of a clean tongue?! lol.

  12. Guest

    I lived in Wales for about 5 years, stunning walks! I worked at a riding school in the Beacons. It's an odd sounding language, very melodic. Top tips FF=F,W=U DD=TH and F=V. you can almost pronounce place names if you remember that, the rest is singing!

  13. knowledgeizpower

    Just finished that one Lol...that one is really good its sooo funny...But like can someone please tell me what are Bollocks?? I 'm country I know don't make fun of me lmao :D

  14. Guest

    P.S nothing dangerous about sucking chocolate, its good for sore throats. If i say lots of sweet things Az might come to think of me as a girl :))

  15. Guest

    Singing! Love, love, love it!! Someday I'd love to go and see and hear the place for myself...stay in one of those bed and breakfasts with the Mrs.

  16. Guest

    I promise you'll both love it just don't forget your welly-gogs and bobble hats. If you want a proper sing song in a traditional pub you should go to Southern Ireland though. Also very beautiful.

  17. Guest

    Right, definitely off to bed now. Sweet dreams :)

  18. Guest

    I think it means bullsh*t.

  19. knowledgeizpower

    Dang for real okay thanks....Like I have not heard of that word until some folks on here where saying that....I must be reaally LATE huh lmao...Like folks have different meanings for even cuss words thats like fascinating to me lol...Have you heard sombody say shitz n giggles..Thats another phrase someone used that I have not heard of either I thought that was different but funny azz hell anyway Stephen Fry loves his docs....Holla

  20. Guest

    I first picked it up from the Sex Pistols album "Never Mind the Bollocks".

  21. Earthwinger

    B*llocks = Testicles

    Though you'll never hear a doctor call them that. :D

    Most appropriate uses would be for cursing, as in "oh b*llocks!" or you could accuse someone of talking rubbish by saying something like "what a load of old b*llocks!" :)

  22. Yi Wen Qian

    Lobbing each other's heads off? Hah? I don't understand. >.< But if we ever do, I would hope with a clean tongue. lol

  23. Guest

    As in with a broadsword, or an axe...a beheading, in other words! We could even do it in real style, linguistically, too. Maybe in Sindarin, or, better yet, Quenya, like one of Tolkien's Elves. They would never swear while lobbing off the heads of Orcs... who most certainly would! lol.

  24. Yi Wen Qian

    Lol, in that case it sounds fun!

  25. robertallen1

    Not bad, except for part 5. Equating Bob Dylan to the status of the classics is like elevating Silius Italicus to the status of Homer--and quite frankly I find it offensive.

  26. Guest

    You can also say something 's bol1ocksed- broken or gone for a bol1ock, all gone very very wrong

  27. Guest

    Good morning! (I haven't even slept yet...It happens every now and then...Insomnia *_* )

    I heard somewhere the word "bloody" is an especially bad swear word in England. Is that true? If so, why? Can you really give me an explanation, and, well, remain ladylike? Or is it that bad?
    Or maybe I've been misinformed?

    edit- Perhaps if it is that bad, I should never have asked you that question... Duh!

  28. harry nutzack

    dylan has insight, veiled political critique, social/caste commentary, and the ultimate mark of "the classic", timelessness... his lyrics cut to the quick a half century later, if possible with an even keener edge than when originally penned... to take offense at the concept of "dylan as dante" is ultimately narrow-minded, as the "classic poet" was nothing more than the cutting edge rock star of his day

  29. robertallen1

    First of all, the so-called music is no more than ignorant and amateurish strumming.

    The lyrics are the simple-minded twaddle of the untutored, replete with ubiquitous, asonances (in short, anyone can rhyme)masquerading as thought.

    Monotony. tedium and puerility dominate.

    "Dylan has insight, veiled political critique, . . . " says nothing about the artistic quality of his output which is all that matters.

  30. Guest

    Nothing wrong with bloody at all. I have heard that it was short for By our Lady and therefore sort of blasphemous. Brits don't really care about that though :) Everyone says it all the time, Bloody Hell, Bloody id**t, and depending on your accent Bleedin' is fine too, Bleedin Aida/ Bloody Nora = Oh My God, Damn. If you don't want to say bloody for whatever reason you can substitute Bloomin' or Blummin. Where it comes from I don't know but its a mild swear word, not like F... or C... Bol1ocks is almost comedy. Oh and there is Blimey as well =Oh my god, wow, really? Its used on it's own, eg; 'I crashed my car'
    'Blimey! really?' Bloody is like mild Fu.king.

  31. Guest

    Alright. It was a long time ago when I heard something about it on the telly (lol), I think, and that must've been what it was, that they were talking about how much it used to be considered such a bad one.

  32. Guest

    Dante, like Marilyn Manson...all into hell and sh*t, lol.

  33. Guest

    You still awake? You've got stamina! Wonder if Nora is actually Noah, like in songs- If I had wings like Noras dove..?

  34. Guest

    But not so much for that, lol...I slept awhile, and just got up. :)

  35. Guest

    What time is it for you, Brekkie?

  36. Guest

    Right this moment, exactly 1:11 pm.
    And you're...7:11 pm, I think? Or is it 8?
    (What is brekkie? lol.)

    edit- Never mind, I looked it up, lol. (Obviously, another one we don't use here.)

  37. harry nutzack

    bob, might i suggest a re-listen to "highway 61 revisited", just as a prime example? dylan's body of work is far from "purile", the early style you sum up as "ignorant and amateurish strummimng", hailed by many in the music industry, and a huge fan base, is based on american folk, and the "talking blues"....insight, and veiled socio/political critique, as well as illustrations of "the human condition" is the "artistic quality" of ALL the classics, bar none.. if dylan's illustrations offer an intimate peek into subsets of humanity you have no experience with, then perhaps familiarizing yourself with the details of the conditions he experienced in youth, as well as the societal changes during the period of his best works, might "open your eyes" to his message?... was every dylan song of "classic" quality? of course not, anymore than every product of shakespeares pen was, "the comedy of errors" as an illustration... mozart produced penny operas, does that taint the body of his work? frivolity and "soft core hedonism" are that which most seperates us from the grim realities of the wild kingdom, that which best points to our distinct "humanity" among the occupants of our world.... must one confine themselves to the bleak self-imposed realities of the likes of van gogh, munch, or nietze to qualify by your standard? dylan offers few answers, if any, true enough. but his work asks more than enough questions to stimulate contemplation of the lot of modern man, our desires, dreams, motivations and failures... but, i also feel a need to acknowledge that not all artists can be hailed by all that hear them, see them, or read them... the message can be lost in allegory, and the "style" of the work can put off an observer... but "i cant stand dylan" is a far cry from " i take offense to his being compared to the classicists".... i honestly have no clue as to your life experiences, place of upbringing, age, or social "status", but, as one who grew up in the conditions and times dylan illustrates, one who witnessed those days of change (for good and bad), i can most assuredly say his work resonates at many levels, and offers lessons best learned by all

  38. Guest

    I'm 6.15 pm and waiting for midnight and the clocks to change, White night tonight- night fair and events all over town.

  39. Guest

    I still have to watch part 3-4-5. I am curious to see if he makes allusion to us French Quebecois using religious words when we swear. In Mexico they even call us Tabarnacos.
    I like to use the fock word, it's like adding punch to a line and my mind laugh when i think of how it would sound in French....ridicullous!

  40. Guest

    Dave van Ronk is better than Dylan.

  41. Guest

    For pure wordplay, Lennon is the equal of anyone over the past 100 years, imo.

  42. Guest

    He'll do for that I guess but I'm not a fan of the Beatles. I love Mr Ronk for his voice though, the folk stuff not the jazz.

  43. Guest

    Is there an equivalent in French? Or has the Academy not deemed it fit to approve one yet? lol.

    edit- Like Iz said, there's some funny stuff in part 3. A very sweet girl with Tourette's*, and a kind of jolly, 1/2 a*s Santa Claus (or even Falstaff...) with a foul mouth, who's humor is pretty infectious, etc.

    * Every time she chirped "biscuit" (with that accent) I got a little thrill of delight!

  44. Guest

    Back soon :)

  45. ProudinUS

    You know what? there are some people on here that are a joke! they claim to be world travelers and people of the world. When in all actuality their nothing but lonely couch toads. Does this apply to any of you?

  46. robertallen1

    First of all, my name is Robert and I resent your unwarranted license.

    Dylan and his ilk are no more than crudeness (in its most pejorative sense) personified, extolled and dignified and the music industry and fan base merely reflect this and and are thus nugatory. Quality is not a publicity campaign or a popularity contest.

    Dylan's output is no more than the twaddle of someone who has just discovered that he can rhyme and strum at the same time.

    A work depending solely on the context in which it was created is artistically lacking I don't need to know anything about Shakespeare to appreciate the Tempest or Lear. I don't need to know anything about New England society to appreciate Henry James or Edith Wharton. I don't need to know anything about the Trojan war to appreciate Homer and I don't need to know anything about the class of society depicted by the rich Mr. Dylan to realize how trashy and phoney his output and that of his contemporaries.

    Not one thing you've mentioned has any artistic validity. Art is not what, but how.

    P.S. A work does not need to be weighty to have merit. I have as much respect for Charles Addams as I have for Van Gogh. I have as much respect for Wagner as I have for Johann Strauss. I have as much respect for E.B. White as I have for Stendahl.

  47. robertallen1

    You obviously have not read much.

  48. Guest

    I've read quite a bit, actually. But I'm really only referring to popular entertainers like he was.

  49. robertallen1

    First, if you meant this, you should have stated it.

    Secondly, what about Cole Porter, Noel Coward, Lorenz Hart--and I've just mentioned lyricists who I guess can be considered popular entertainers, all of whom have it way over Lennon.

  50. harry nutzack

    well, bob, it certainly seems that you're here merely to take offense, and spread some of that "joy" that darkens your outlook... if one is completely ignorant of the trojan war, then homer is no more than a jerry bruckheimer movie... if one is completely ignorant of middle ages europe, then how can one appreciate shakespeare?? your definition of "art" is absurd, as content ALWAYS overshadows style.. art evokes emotion, remembrance, an insight into the artist's view... or does a plate in kodachrome outshine the likes of pollock? is picasso inferior to norman rockwell? the film presented the lyrics of dylan, not his musical talent, as that which is comparable to the classics, though as i pointed out previously, his music is born of 2 extremely simplistic american rural styles, and as such was never meant to compare or compete with such luminaries as mozart, strauss, wagner, or even count basie... apples and oranges

  51. Guest

    I said "In my opinion" he is the equal. This is art, and thus a matter of subjective opinion, whether we like it or not. As far as stating it outright, well, perhaps I should have...

  52. robertallen1

    It's not opinion. It's respectability. Milton and Dante are not my cup of tea, but I respect and admire them as artists.

  53. Guest

    Same here, Robert.

  54. Guest

    If you mean you as in me, i will answer you as in you.
    IT depends what you call a world traveler. If it is someone who has traveled over 40 countries, mostly on her own, someone who where ever she is, feels like life is a trip, someone who owns just about nothing and is willing to give it up anyday, someone who sees life's opportunities as little cupcakes on a rolling mat, someone who was offered a job abroad but is waiting for confirmation while loving life and what is in the moment above what her dreams hold....than yes life can be a joke everyday because living life seriously is not for me although i seriously can give full attention to serious matters when someone needs my help. Some talk of living moment to moment ....i choose to live it! And you are right i am addicted to TDF and one day will chose to give it up in a moment!
    I hope this clarify my view, what about yours?


  55. Yi Wen Qian

    Lol, at the start of ep 5 Stephen says that in this episode is his opinion of good literature, so 'there is no right or wrong here'. Opinions are suppose to be different. It's not an account of history or much other than a personal journey for Fry. Bits of words that made him shiver with delight.

  56. robertallen1

    You are dense. My name is Robert, not Bob.

    There is nothing particularly great about the opening eight notes of Beethoven's Fifth (i.e., lack of content), but the development makes it one of the great works of symphonic literature (i.e., style). Similar to Beethoven's Fifth, only three things happen in Tristam Shandy (lack of content), yet it is one of the finest novels ever written (i.e., style). Many paintings depict suffering (i.e., content), but few like Guernica (i.e., style.) In short, content is secondary to treatment.

    You confound subjective emotional effect with objective artistic appreciation. Dante and Milton leave me cold, but their worth and respectability override my likes and dislikes. Once again, in short, it's not what is attempted (content), but how well (style). That's what's important, not a person's subjective pululations.

    If the outpourings of Bob Dylan and the likes were taken for the crude drivel they are, I would have no problem, but instead they are elevated to a greatness which they don't deserve.

    Your ignorance shows when you place Shakespeare in the Middle Ages (He's as Elizabethan as they get). In addition, nothing need be known about the sources he used for his plays to appreciate them. Hamlet is a great play with or without Thomas Kyd. Richard III is a fine piece of drama with or without the Hollingshead chronicles. The Tempest and Lear are unquestioned masterpieces in and of themselves. And, for your information, Homer is our earliest source for the Trojan War and even "he" was writing about 500 years after its occurrence. So it is impossible to read Homer with any real knowledge of the Trojan War other than what is contained in the epics themselves (unless you take into account later archaeological finds) and your statement anent a Jerry Bruckheimer movie is patently irrelevant and absurd.

    It would really help if you tried to learn something.

  57. Guest

    You just listed (many of) the reasons why my opinion of you is so high.
    Thank you!

  58. knowledgeizpower

    ThaT wAS DeLICIous I Love IT!!! :D

  59. Yavanna

    Fricking awesome doc. Have been following it on TV and thanks to MR Vlatko for providing the rest of the world with it.

    Hopefully this will better introduce Mr Fry to the greater world also. He is a treasure. An acquired taste I can understand, but one worth suffering the introduction.

    He is the future David Attenborough in terms of narration, but has a myriad of other talents that seem endless at times. His appreciation of EVERYTHING is boundless.;

  60. Yavanna

    Glad you've been converted! I bet it was the Klingon section that finally swung you!

  61. Yavanna

    QI is life

  62. Yavanna

    By the way

    Not related to the doc but a question please....

    My Disqus seems to be broken again, I no longer see the discussion in threads (ie replies within replies in trees....) I only see comments in a purely dated order.

    I`m using chrome. I haven't changed anything, It just got mucked up about three weeks back. I was hoping it might fix itself but it's becoming annoying now.

    Anyone else got this problem? or a suggestion which might help fix me? I`ve tried all the disqus buttons to no avail. No matter how much I pray to the flying spaghetti monster nothing seems to help!

  63. Yi Wen Qian

    No, you are doing fine, Vlatko changed the presentation of the threads.

  64. Vlatko


    You're OK. The comments are not threaded anymore. People were confused where to whom to reply since the reply was going only two levels deep. (the space here is narrow to allow threaded comments to 3,4,5 level deep)

    I think this way we can follow the comments more easily. Anyone can reply to anyone. When you reply to someone your comment goes on top with a link at the bottom "in reply to...". When you click that link you'll see the comment which you replied to. Cheers.

  65. Guest

    I want to add also that last Jan. i took the caretaking of a house (among others now and then), it has now come to an end in the way that i am no longer caretaking this house but sharing it with two 21 yrs old who i am getting to know. It is a blast to see young girls so full of life, conversations, many friends and such beauty and they think living with a crazy old lady is not that bad after all.
    Funny that this is your first comment and you chose to make it an attack. Frankly we can or can't like every one here...tous pour un et un pour tous!

  66. Guest

    You see it like we all see it. A change most people enjoy. If you see a comment in reply to someone else, click on reply to.... and it will show you the comment related.
    I bet after a while you will like this format better. Every time you come on, the new comments are on top, no more having to look for them on pages and pages.
    Yes i do like Fry , i am going to look at all his docs from now on!
    I have been educated about this english chap! I like his humour.

  67. Guest

    I've given you a voice so when you write things like telly I find myself laughing at your English accent. Sorry, it needs practice :)

  68. Guest

    Hope I don't sound like a hillbilly!
    I'm from SC (although I haven't lived there in a long time) but have a 1/2 sister in Alabama I've been to see a few times. Her accent is so much thicker than the Carolina one, which is more of a gentle lilt, for want of a better way to put it. I feel positively sophisticated listening to her! She's a pretty smart little cookie, though...You just might have a bit of a hard time telling it from the way she speaks.

  69. Yavanna

    Aha mystery solved. I thought my Disqus had gone wonky again.

    So now it's more like the original style!


  70. Guest

    No, no hillbilly. Think i got it about right for you. Luckily you'll never hear me try an american accent- Dolly Parton on speed meets overexcited Barbie.

  71. Guest

    I was again watching "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels" not too long ago. Supposedly the movie was in English but for a poor Southern boy like me subtitles sure would help.

  72. tomregit

    Wow! Your first and so far only post here and you have chosen to attack az. I think she and I have very different outlooks and live very different lives. However, I have viewed, read, and posted on this site for some time and feel (like many others) that I have come to know her. Az has have travelled widely and loves many aspects of cultures in parts of the world most of us will never visit. Although I don't understand or agree with her stance or explanation on various matters (science or physics in particular), her posts are generally entertaining, usually insightful, and never aggressive or self serving. The same cannot be said of you.

  73. Guest

    That was quite good...i wish my understanding of English especially English from England was a little sharper. There was one on God that made me imagine a panel from TDF. I had @David Foster and @Achems on one side and i could'nt nail down who should be next to Alan Davis...too may choices. But a good laugh for sure.
    I'll be watching many more.

  74. Guest

    That's cockneys for you, they tend to miss out as many consonants as possible, they just give a hint that there probably should be one with little jerky gaps. Kind of the opposite of Hebrew.written.

  75. Guest

    Private Eye is a brilliant read, well worth a look on the website.

  76. WTC7

    I only watched the first part but there is already lots of food for thought, and research too. Like for example, how (and why) did our physical constitution, compared to other apes, evolve so as to enable us to actually speak. Was it that the evolution of our brain caused our bodies to evolve in such a way as to enable our brains to find an expression in language or was it that our bodies were already fit for vocal expression before that and we simply had to learn how to so it? Either way, I find it a bit confusing and extraordinary interesting.

  77. Yi Wen Qian

    I think it started with eating meat and cooking our food, so the brain have the space (smaller jaws) and energy to grow. Then it is a matter of hunting in groups, which meant communication is important. That's just a theory though.

  78. KsDevil

    Only watched the first episode so far, but I noticed that latin was not mentioned when discussing the idea of a one-language suggestion. Still 4 (ghad) more hours to go.

  79. Guest

    We can do many things with our brain that the other apes cannot do. Perhaps it was a combination of these differences that gave us the ability of language. Then evolutionary pressure pushed us into using that ability whereas it did not happen in the other apes.

  80. Guest

    *rubbing the sleep out of my eyes*
    Welcome back! I certainly have missed you.
    Try the third part, too, it's pretty funny.
    ( -_- coffee time...)

  81. Guest

    I can think of one reason why Latin should not be used. Science and law require a language that is constant, that is will not change. If Latin is adopted as a one language then it will begin to evolve - to change by usage as all languages do.

    Then you're back to finding a constant language for science.

  82. Guest

    It may even have been a mutation...A very, very fortuitous one, for sure, if so.

  83. Guest

    No doubt there was a mutation somewhere. Yet it may have been a mutation that allowed two parts of our brain to sync and that could be the only difference between humans and apes.

  84. Yi Wen Qian

    The only thing science needs really is communication. Latin is dead because it is not used. Science will always use the most popular language.

  85. Guest

    I'll have to disagree with that one Yi. Science purposely chose Latin because it was dead and would not change. All the life sciences use Latin which is why you'll find a common name and a Latin name. The common name of a plant my change from region to region but the Latin name will always remain the same. This is why science uses Latin. Everybody knows exactly what is what.

  86. Guest

    I wouldn't say the only one, in terms of our mental functioning, but certainly a (the) major one.

  87. Guest

    That's the thing. No one knows.

  88. WTC7

    Pysmythe! So good to see your old self! I'll watch all parts but in my part of the world it's close to bed time :), so it'll wait until tomorrow. Great to hear from you and thanks!

  89. Guest

    Did you ever see any of the stuff on apes and sign-language? The retention ceiling is pretty low, of course, but, if I remember correctly, the chimps do better than the rest they've tried. I think they (the chimps and gorillas) have also demonstrated a very limited creativity, unexpected connections, etc. So far, ape poets! lol.

    Subject-matter: Sonnets from the Bananas

    Go to, boys!

  90. Yi Wen Qian

    That's only in plant and animal descriptions. In these cases the language must be dead, or future generation would not understand the description of an extinct animal. Otherwise, it is currently in English, before, for a while it was French I think, then Greek... But no I agree with you on why Latin shouldn't be revived as a common language.

  91. WTC7

    Anything we come up with at this stage is a theory and we can't know for sure what preceded what. But I wonder, making fire and cooking food should already require a larger sized brain than that of other apes..... Could eating meat influence the changes of our bodies that enabled speech?

    Hunting in groups would certainly require already developed means of communication, i.e. language of some sort, so I would imagine that would have been a consequence of our ability to plan and communicate hunting strategies, not a trigger to develop language...

  92. Guest

    No it is everywhere in science.

  93. WTC7

    I am certain that it was a combination of certain elements that other apes did not possess that brought about our ability to speak, that much is certain, I agree. It's quite clear that at some stage in the evolution, we became a separate species of apes - and that must have happened for some reason, something set us apart from others. But it is also clear that we must have possessed some very advanced differences compared to our ape relatives, since we responded to the evolutionary pressure in such a different way than they did... And the size of their brains did not differ that much at the stage of separation...

  94. Yi Wen Qian

    Then I haven't encountered it. :P

  95. Yi Wen Qian

    Language could of happened after separation though, it's always hard to pin down the reasons for why two species separated.

  96. Guest

    Sure you have. Does not medicine use Latin as its language? Are not our metric measurements derived from Latin? Certainly all the biological sciences use Latin as their common language.

  97. Guest

    Over there?
    Ugh! Ugh!
    No, there!
    Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!
    Are you sure?
    Yes, fool!
    Hey, up yours!

  98. Guest

    The thumb helped a lot, too, along with walking upright.

  99. Yi Wen Qian

    That's hard to say, there are other theories, like social interaction (because we have complex societies), or environment. It's very hard to pin down the size of the brain needed for fire since we are the only species that uses fire. It could have started a bush fire or something. Humans are interesting in that they can be hurt by fire, but are really attracted to it.

    Hunting in groups though, one can argue that wolves do the same with a smaller brain, and chimps also hunts in groups for monkeys occasionally.

  100. Yi Wen Qian

    Isn't that Greek? I could be wrong...

  101. Guest

    Right, we did respond differently to perhaps the very same pressures as the apes however no one has yet determined what change caused us to respond differently. It could have just been one gene, otherwise we would just have been a smarter chimp.

  102. Guest

    That's right, of course, about fire. Once we learned to control what all other animals feared, we were on our way, big time.

  103. WTC7

    Sorry, I may not have been clear in saying it - language certainly happened after the separation Yi, otherwise we would be communicating on facebook with some ape relatives by now :).

  104. Yi Wen Qian

    It's unlikely that one gene will prevent cross breeding, different species arise because the populations are not interbreeding, either because of something geological, or social (like I wouldn't mate with you unless you are hairless, I don't know lol), but either way, we did separate for some reason.

  105. Yi Wen Qian

    ... That would be awesome!

  106. Guest

    But it is after we acquired language that things really started getting interesting I think. Ever heard those Africans whose language consists of clicks and whistles. No other language on earth resembles it. Why do all languages have a somewhat common lineage except this one?

  107. Guest

    Correct. This mutation for language was one that happened after separation from other apes I would suppose.

  108. WTC7

    The thing is that we are only speculating here, all of us including scientists in the field. We simply have no idea why and how the humans came to be able to communicate through language.

    There is one thing that is sure - some physical changes of the human body (compared to the bodies of the apes, and humans' at the early stage of separation) had to take place in order for humans to be able to speak. That is a very interesting fact. It appears as if our body changed to allow for the speech?!

    As for hunting, I only responded to your statement that language is also a "matter of hunting in groups, which meant communication is important." I understood that comment of yours in terms of human hunting practices and did not imply by any chance that it had anything to do with wolves :).

  109. Guest

    I think Latin is used because the guy that devised taxonomy lived about 300 years ago and at that point it was spoken pretty much everywhere in Europe, a universal language. I expect because the catholic church uses Latin it spread far and wide long before that amongst the educated. Cant remember the chaps name. will google!

    taxonomy carl linnaeus

  110. WTC7

    True :)

  111. WTC7

    Yes, you are right. I think it's the Bushmen you are referring to?

  112. Guest

    I read an article a while back that suggested crows were actually smarter than apes, better thinkers, problem solvers and tool makers. I like crows. Watched a few in Australia for a while that got a taste for pop (fizzy drinks) and helped each other tip and pour the cans so they could drink as it trickled out. A couple of them faked broken wings so that people would feed them.

  113. Guest

    And humans can do one other thing that apes cannot. We can control and regulate our breathing patterns. Very necessary for speech.

  114. Yi Wen Qian

    No, I'm not disagreeing that taxonomy doesn't use Latin, but not as a common language, and I think it was only used for bibles but only for Roman Orthodox, so the language can't change (cause it would be misquoting the bible). I think at that time the bible in Britain was in English because of the Protestant movement.

    Bones and muscles also use Latin now that I think about it, but it's usually applied to names that needs to be dead set and universal.

  115. Guest

    I believe so. Very strange yet it seems to have come from nowhere and never went anywhere. There is no trace of it in any other language.

    I think all humans are descended from this line (out on a limb here). Their genes went out across the world yet absolutely none of the language went anywhere.

  116. Guest

    Yeah, I've heard things about that, too, regarding crows. You know what I would really like to have, for some years now? An African Gray Parrot! Those little chaps are just wicked smart... But the commitment is literally lifelong, since they can live 50-70 years, and, because of their intelligence, they demand a LOT of interaction. With little ones in the house right now, it's maybe not such a good idea to add another, lol, but one of these days I just might, when the time is right.

  117. WTC7

    You are absolutely correct. But let's not diverge from the original issue, we all know what the differences between us and the other apes are today.

    But think, every evolutionary change is a response to an evolutionary necessity (I won't put my hand into fire for it, but I think that's what we have been taught).

    Language is obviously not an evolutionary necessity as many species that survive to this day, including other apes, prove quite obviously.

    That question is of my interest.

  118. Guest

    And for dope-smoking, lol! :)

  119. Guest

    I think you're right about that but science realized the value of a dead language and has kept that language while all other users have dropped away.

  120. Yi Wen Qian

    Apparently there was a theory, in that this was the oldest language in the world, because it sounds like a rock falling, or wind. This was very important in hunting to not startle the animals. During hunting, they get rid of the 'vowels' so it becomes just whistles and clicks.

    It was suggested that later, when humans were able to farm cattle, that these sounds were no longer needed. That's just a theory though.

  121. Guest

    Well it seems it is the parrot's commitment since he'll probably outlive you!

  122. Guest

    My Auntie had a Cocky that she trained to speak, it managed a few words but also seemed to teach her to talk like a parrot. She ended up trying to teach it to speak as she thought a parrot should sound

  123. Guest

    If we have a mutation in a gene that is not in response to an evolutionary necessity. The question is whether the mutation will give an evolutionary advantage.

  124. Guest

    I did a couple of basic Latin and ancient Greek some years ago. There is a radio station (Sweden maybe) that still broadcasts news in Latin.

  125. Yi Wen Qian

    Mm, I just remembered that bones and muscles are in Latin, most of the diseases and conditions are usually not Latin. I'm not sure about the measurements sorry. Latin is an important part in taxonomy, but to me it's a small branch of science in general.

  126. WTC7

    Ok, that sounds as an acceptable explanation.

  127. Guest

    Measurements? Milli, deci, centi, etc.

  128. Yi Wen Qian

    Lol, I don't mean I don't know what they are, just about their origins.

  129. Guest

    French was the language of the nobility and Latin left its mark, England likes to hang on to old dead things :) The Catholics never went away, they hid.

  130. Guest

    I'm trying to imagine a Swede talking in Latin. Somehow the Swedish Chef from the Muppets comes to mind.

  131. Guest

    Maybe it is the chef, Maybe it's not Latin but double Dutch.

  132. robertallen1

    No, medicine uses Greek and biology uses a combination of Greek, Latin and names of persons and places.

  133. Guest

    May be we are close to a new mutation. The ones who will follow the machine (computer ect.) and the ones who won't.
    Just a thought.

  134. Guest

    Are you saying, yes or no, that medicine does not use Latin?

  135. Guest

    A deliberate mutation, according to some. Kurzweil's approaching Singularity, if he's right about that, will require people to "upgrade," simply in order to keep up with the vastly accelerated pace of information exchange.

    Frightening to some, myself included... At what point would we no longer be human anymore, but a new species?

    The ones who won't are already called "Luddites" by some.

  136. Guest

    I have little doubt he'd be able to assemble his adoption papers completely on his own...

  137. Guest

    I only hope whichever way it goes the language will be English.

  138. robertallen1

    I am not saying that medicine never uses Latin. It's just that the preponderance of the terms come from the Greek.

  139. Guest

    It's entirely possible that, whatever language it may be, it may, in a manner of speaking, be telepathic, since it may be expressed at a speed too great to be spoken by vocal-cords, or heard correctly by ordinary ears.
    Also just a thought.

  140. robertallen1

    Let me elaborate a bit.

    The preponderance of medical terms come directly from the Greek.

    However, there are a number which take a Latinate route, but in most cases this boils down to Greek. For example, delirium tremens, the first part of which comes from the Latin lira, a furrow, which can be traced to the Greek. The word tremens, while directly from the Latin, has Greek roos. In dementia praecox, the first part is from the Latin word for mind which is a virtual lifting of the Greek word and the second part from the Latin word to cook which in a roundabout way came to the language through the Greek.

    I hope I have answered your question.

  141. Yi Wen Qian

    Deliberate mutation?? I can't see how that's ethical in any means. I'd rather the information exchange gets dumbed down. Much more ethical and user friendly. Besides, mutations happen all the time, the competitiveness of our society is enough I believe.

  142. Guest

    I don't mean as something to be forced upon anyone, but only that, in order to keep pace with the world as it may be (according to futurist Ray Kurzweil), either one will accept the need for biological enhancements, or one will be left behind, unable to make sense of a world vastly accelerated in nearly every respect. Maybe a little as if you woke up one morning and everyone else in the world had a 500 I.Q., or better. How could you expect to compete with that?
    If you haven't already, read the Technological Singularity article in Wikipedia, for a start. There may be very perilous times ahead for humanity in ways the majority are not yet really considering. Also, I think there are several docs touching on the subject here.

  143. Yi Wen Qian

    Mm, well, I would say that this would be too unethical to be true. I googled him, but I feel that a computer person shouldn't really comment on biological stuff, unless he is talking about microchiping us lol. Well, I can assure you that we still don't understand the genetic code enough or have a delivery system to make this happen, I mean we couldn't even fix one gene, or muscular dystrophy would be curable. Intelligence is a combination of genes, womb condition and environment. Besides, it's purely subjective.

    Also, I want to add that IQ is currently increase about 3 every 10 years on average. It's not genes here because this is too fast, so it must be the environment. It means that we get stimulated more and the brain is adapting to these changes. It appears that the brains we have already have not reached its full potential yet.

  144. Guest

    Do read that article to get a better idea of what I'm talking about. Some of it really is frightening to me, although many look forward to it with a great deal of impatience, lol. Kurzweil isn't the only one, either, who has made the prediction, but he has been a lot more specific in his expectations of what it may be like. Also, this (inevitable, according to them) event is expected to occur perhaps as early as 2050. It is contingent upon Moore's Law and other things, and is the point in human history in which afterwards all bets are off, according to some, although Kurzweil is optimistic about it.

    Me? It has kept me up at night a couple of times, and I wasn't shuddering with delight, either.

  145. Yi Wen Qian

    Well, I guess we will be see what happens in 2050. :P I have yet to see a doom's prophecy coming true, except animal extinction. I would be happy if in 2050, we have the ability to cure muscular dystrophy. Moore's law have limits though, it can't got exponentially up forever for every single thing and it will collapse soon I would imagine. The singularity is made on the assumption that this law will never fail.

  146. Guest

    It's not so much the doom some predict, but that it is (assuming it's accurate) an Event Horizon, beyond which we can't see, that sets me on edge if I think about it too much. It could be unimaginably great, or it could be equally terrible.'s also true that by now we were supposed to have a Jetson's-style Rosie the robot in every home, and George's flying, nuclear-powered car, so...who knows? And as the article's criticisms state, just because a future can be imagined doesn't make it inevitable... But I do think that, given the rate of technological change we've seen thus far, it probably would be wise to take what precautions we can to mitigate the worst happening, and not make any assumptions about our safety being assured from our own inventions.

  147. Yi Wen Qian

    I would love a robot that does my laundry! :(

  148. Guest

    My wife has one. She calls call him Paul...

  149. Yi Wen Qian

    Lol, I had one called mum, but she has the right to refuse.

  150. Guest

    This one is constrained by the Three Laws, none of which originated with Isaac Asimov, and none of which can be listed here! :)

  151. Guest

    he was on Ted Talks.

  152. Guest

    What'd you think?

  153. Guest

    I haven't listened to it yet, i searched with his name on Ted Talks knowing these guys always end up there...and he was. Not sure if i am in the mood right now for the complicated mind digging.

  154. Guest

    Another one, like Rand, I'm conflicted about. I'd like to share his sense of optimism, but...

  155. Irishkev

    Bollocks are the male gonads(balls to most people). Happy to be of service.

  156. knowledgeizpower

    Lol Thanks IrishKev I have gained alot more of knowledge here TDF :D.....Peace

  157. Guest

    What you need to do is go all the way back to a question I answered concerning the use of Latin as a one language because we're getting way off track here. I simply held that Latin would not do because in a sense it was already taken by science and law. I could care less what Greek is used for because we were discussing Latin.

  158. Sieben Stern

    if that lets them keep their power, then yes ;D

  159. Yi Wen Qian

    ...lak, you asked him if latin is used in medicine or not, he just answered it. It's mostly Greek. Names of bones/muscle as exception. With that said though, all languages have their own names on top of the latin names for bones/muscles. Latin is used primarily in taxonomy, and it should stay a dead language as a result.

  160. Guest

    You are correct. I over-stated my case.

  161. Guest

    Right. I did wrong. I admit it.

  162. Yi Wen Qian

    BTW I need to say that I respect you a lot and hope there is no hard feelings. :)

  163. Guest

    No my friend, I would expect to be called out.

  164. Jack1952

    @ Yi Wen Qian

    IQ's increasing conflicts with the popular notion that we have become mindless tv and computer junkies, without an original thought in our heads. Maybe this environment is not as mind numbing as we think.

  165. Yi Wen Qian

    Haha, depends on what you use these for. TDF is obviously an IQ raise website. :P

  166. Jack1952

    @ Pysmythe

    The first time I came into contact with the Technological Singularity concept (the term was not in use at the time) was when I read Asimov's "The Last Question". I found this story in a book in the school library when I was in grade 8. Since I attended a fundamentalist Protestant school, I thought it prudent not to mention to my teacher where I had found it although we did discuss the story at length. Since then, the exponential growth of the economy and technology has been one of those issues that bounces around in my head that never seems to be resolved. There are too many variables involved to predict how our future will unfold. I would think that if a singularity is inevitable that this must have been achieved already by alien civilizations. This would open a completely new avenue of thought to consider...and I'm baffled enough as it is.

  167. Jack1952

    @ Yi Wen Qian

    With the population at 7 billion, there would be enough diversity of thought that some would not find it unethical to deliberately mutate. In fact, I would think that there would be those who would be eager for this mutation to take place. Once the ability is attained, history shows that someone will use any new technology. It then has a snowballing effect. Ethics is a topic that is always open for discussion and it changes from person to person, no matter how high the standard of ethics of those involved.

  168. Yi Wen Qian

    I was hoping that it would be illegal, no genetic changes unless it's to fix a broken gene. >.> I hope that's not too hopeful of a wish.

  169. Earthwinger

    Heya lak, please don't think that I'm nit-picking here, as that's not my intention at all, but this seems like the perfect thread to ask about something that's been puzzling me for a while now.

    I keep seeing American posters on forums, use the phrase "could care less" when it would seem that from the context in which it's used, the intention is to say the opposite. Am I missing something here?

  170. robertallen1

    You are "correct." The phrase is "I couldn't care less." The other way makes no sense. However, who knows that the future may bring.

  171. Guest

    It's an American colloquialism and it does not to appear to make sense. It's just an idiom that maybe hides a tinge of sarcasm.

  172. Guest

    Either is considered acceptable now.

  173. robertallen1

    I do not agree. I regard it as an affectation and it is certainly not acceptable in formal English.

    Of course, I speak only for the present.

  174. Guest

    How about "head over heels" which should be "heels over head" (we already stand head over heels). Or "back and forth" when everybody knows you have to go forth before coming back. "yeah, right" means no. Fat chance and slim chance mean the same thing. Americans use sarcasm and satire often in speech.

  175. robertallen1

    You missed the point. I clearly indicated that I was speaking only of the present and only of the phrase "I could care less." At this time, "I couldn't care less" is far more in use than its pseudo opposite, especially in formal writing. Thus, both are not equally acceptable. Of course, some sarcasms and inaccuracies (we say we cross a bridge when actually the brudge crosses the river) come to be accepted locutions, but that has nothing to do with what I was writing about.

  176. Guest

    No they are both acceptable in American English. Read it "as if I could care less". How come your examples are acceptable when they don't really mean what they say? Again, this is an American colloquialism and is acceptable in speech and writing. It is an American idiom.

    Just in case I just now called the English dept. here at the local university. Their answer: perfectly acceptable in American English.

  177. robertallen1

    Try using it in a term paper and see how far you get--and your rendition makes as much sense as the locution itself.

    Once again, you fail to read carefully. My statement was certain locutions have become acceptable despite their absurdity (e.g., "bring me a good cup of coffee")--nothing more! The teological or ontological reasons for their acceptance had nothing to do with my post.

    Frankly, I really do not believe that you called the English Department at your local university for you would not have received the answer which you allege you did and you omitted the name of the university, the person you spoke to and this person's position or qualifications.

  178. Guest

    Think as you wish. I could care less.

  179. Guest

    Also, just checked the Oxford English Dictionary through the library. Seems the OED recognizes it to be acceptable. Go argue with them.

  180. Guest

    Now back to you Earthwinger. It does seem strange to one who doesn't speak American English. It is peculiar to the USA. I kind of like it. It flows from the tongue when the correct version feels choppy. It drips with sarcasm when necessary.

    It is not known how it entered the American English. I feel it had to come from Southern (USA) English. We would tend to do that because it would be a polite way to insult a person!

  181. robertallen1

    Once again, you don't read carefully.

    1. The purpose of a dictionary is to describe, not prescribe. Therefore, the inclusion of this locution in the OED is not only unsurprising but mandatory. However, colloquial does not imply acceptable nor does it connote a choice. "Ain't" is also in the OED and there is certainly no choice between this word and some form of the present tense of the verb to be.

    2. Your speech (writing) brands you and despite what you consider its admirable euphonic properties, this locution displays an obnoxious laziness, ignorance and illogic on the part of the person who employs it. These drawbacks certainly do not apply in your case where mere pretension is obviously the goal.

  182. Guest

    I could care less.

  183. robertallen1

    That's obvious.

  184. Earthwinger

    Maybe it seemed puzzling to me because I've never heard the phrase spoken out-loud, and the little stresses and nuances that we colour our speech with, are absent in the written word.

    When I roll the words around in my head, it reminds me of another opposite phrase "tell me about it" which (rightly or wrongly), I've always associated with Jewish humour.

    As for the "correct" version, I think that most people in the UK, tend to just say they couldn't care less, when exasperated by someone or something. For the purposes of conveying sarcasm, most Brits would probably (with an obligatory poker face) say something like "Really? How interesting!"

  185. Guest

    Yeah. I love the differences. The English language is expressive in untold ways. You Brits can freeze with an ice laser phrase. I like the one "Clearly". What a knife to the liver.

  186. Guest

    You're correct about the stresses and nuances. "I could care less" is different in meter and melody from "I couldn't care less".

  187. Guest

    Cellar door...... it sounds beautiful even without meaning.

    It is considered by many as the most beautiful use of English.

    cellar door

  188. Guest

    I would much rather we talk.

  189. Guest

    In Canada we would write: "who knows what the future may bring".
    Just teasing!
    You give me the impression of being very pointilleux Mr. Robertallen1.

  190. Achems_Razor


    I wish that I had as great a vocabulary as @robertallen1: has, instead of being such a "Hoser" in my weak attempt of the Queens English language Eh?

    By the way I don't have any pictures of me, might make one soon lol.

  191. Guest

    Ever in the South we have the French(thank god). You may remember them as Acadian, Now they call themselves Cajun.

  192. robertallen1

    Ah, you must mean punctilious.

  193. knowledgeizpower

    "It is silly to seek a basic law, even sillier to find it. Some mean-spirited little man decides that the whole course of humanity can be explained in terms of insidiously revolving signs of the zodiac or as the struggle between an empty and a stuffed belly; he hires a punctilious Philistine to act as Clio's clerk, and begins a wholesale trade in epochs and masses; and then woe to the private individuum, with his two poor u's halloing hopelessely amid the dense growth of economic causes" -Vladimir Nabokov

    IQ raises,Intelligence and Environments,Ignorance and Illogic.

    one that quotes novels, ones status, ones IQ, ones speech, ones environment, ones writing ones expression. Don't ask questions one might Gain To Much Understanding. Don't Accept Others For Being Different, Speaking Different, Looking Different. One must understand Quantum Physics to be considered intelligent. Don't use the word Ain't someone might think you Have a Low IQ....Peace

  194. Guest

    "Intellectualism usually exists only to serve massive egos." --from some dude under a video on Youtube

    (I like it. I think it works.)

  195. Guest

    You seem to think the English language is set in stone and that anyone using anything other than Q.E is somehow of lower intelligence and therefore lower class. Our language has been standardised on more than one occasion, proof in itself that language needs to be fluid, free to adapt and evolve.

  196. Earthwinger

    Agreed! One of the greatest strengths of the English language is that it's ever-evolving, and that's probably why it's become so dominant. I doubt it's status is due to it being the easiest language to learn.

    Old Willie Waggledagger himself, quite literally made up thousands of new words rather than rely on the "correct" ones, and yet his position is one of the highest (if not *the* highest) in the whole pantheon of English literature.

    Let's not be priggish about the English language. Instead, we should play with it, and relish it, in all of it's wonderful hues. I'm sure that's what Shakespeare would have wanted.

  197. Earthwinger

    Oh yeah, and I should have signed off by saying, to those who would disagree......a turd in your teeth! ;)

  198. Guest

    Willie Waggledagger, love it! And even though you didn't use the right words I knew straight away who you meant. Didn't he have about 50 ways to spell his own name? Nothing like a good made up word. My man was trying to remember the name Shangri-La a while back, ended up calling it Halka Deeky. Can't think of it any other way now (not that I think of it that often) and it's spread through the family quite quickly as a name for any lost/mythical/eden type place.

  199. Earthwinger

    I love making up new words. I have a very daft and playful dog who, although he's huge and eight years old, acts like a puppy. So "daft" and "puppy" quite quickly became "dappy". Our walks and games of rough and tumble, usually involve me repeatedly saying "who's a dappy dog then?!"

    Since I came up with that word, a rapper going by the name of Dappy, has risen to fame in the UK, but I was there first, and so for me at least, it will always be an adjective. :)

  200. robertallen1

    I never said any such thing. I merely stated that you are branded by the way speak or write.

    You would understand a lot more if you learned to read more carefully.

  201. Guest

    That's hilarious Yi. I'm happy to be a burr under the Queen's saddle so to speak. And yes, we do "hold down the fort".

  202. Guest

    Mark Twain loved to play with the language. He is probably the icon of American English. Glad he didn't follow the rules.

  203. Guest

    Imagine Knowledgeizpower, a couple of Tennesseeans being told not to use "ain't". Ain't gonna happen.

  204. Guest

    conclusive evidence! How did you find that?

  205. Guest

    i meant:
    chatouilleux, formaliste, méticuleux, minutieux, pointu, scrupuleux, sourcilleux, tatillon, which is English translates as fussy. I meant it in a good way as @Achems pointed out.

  206. Guest

    i Liked your comment and it reminded me of how much people use "like" while will pass when replaced by an other word we may not like as much! lol

  207. Guest

    Playing with words is fun and sometimes the longer the better. When i was very young i used to like the word anticonstitutionnellement and spelled it in a few seconds even though i had no clue what it meant.

  208. Guest

    Am i falling in Love with Stephen Fry? az

  209. Guest

    from being set in stone in clay on papyrus on paper in pixels...set it has been in our mind, free and fleeting! In glish it is becoming.

  210. Guest

    I love the way little kids pronounce new (to them) words.

  211. Guest

    and you get Up and Set so
    Would like to meet you, i bet you would make me laugh!

  212. Guest

    I read it well enough, not only the words but the implication :)

  213. robertallen1

    You obviously have not read much Mark Twain. Most of his works are written in pretty conventional English. Try "Innocents Abroad," "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court," "The Prince and the Pauper," Letters from the Earth." So, for the most part, he "followed the rules."

    Had you read Mark Twain with any thoroughness, you would have realized that his "language play" occurs mostly in his dialogue. The narrative sections of "Tom Sawyer" and "Huckleberry Finn" are in basically conventional English.

    By the way, have you thought about what you mean by describing Mark Twain as an "icon of American English?"

  214. Guest

    The halka-deeky thing? that was my lover, not my kid :))

  215. Guest

    Who doesn't have a picture of their self? Plus according to you we may have met 20-30 years ago, that sure gave you a lot of opportunities....and....with the many computers you seem to have ....doesn't any of them have a web cam?
    Say like being a mystery...just like Castaneda.

  216. robertallen1

    While "ain't" might appear in their conversaion, the chances are slim that it will appear in their formal writing.

  217. robertallen1

    It's obvious from your last reply that you don't.

  218. Guest

    i got that, my reply was supposed to be for mistake

  219. Guest

    A writer may actually want to use such language if the story told is from the area. Ain't is where it is.

  220. robertallen1

    Local color hardly qualifies as formal writing.

  221. Earthwinger

    Yeah, little kids can be veritable goldmines when it comes to pronunciation. Once, while I was visiting a friend one day, her little lad was very excited as it was nearing Christmas, which according to him, was the birthday of the baby Cheezus. That one really stuck with me. :)

  222. Guest

    It is formal southern language. As in Quebec, we are told that we do not speak formal french when in fact our language is much closer to old french than the french French from France speak.
    edit....wrong place for my reply but to the right computer is misbehaving this morning, may be the connection is deranged by the beautiful snow falling.

  223. Guest

    I know he is gay, but at a distance a man doesn't have a penis, he has a brain. lol

  224. robertallen1

    "Ain't" may be considered colloquial, informal, slang, dialectic--but it is everything but formal and speaking of formal, there is no such thing as "formal southern language." Once again, it is unlikely that this word will appear in formal text except to draw attention to itself.

    Also, by old French, do you mean the language of Chanson de Roland or middle French, the language of Ronsard and Rabelais?

  225. Guest

    With my French brain, to hold down the fort would mean keep it on the ground, to not let it be burned, destroyed...makes perfect sense!

  226. Guest

    Do not.

  227. Earthwinger

    "I know he is gay, but at a distance a man doesn't have a penis, he has a brain. lol"

    If this is about your rapidly developing crush on Mr Fry, there's already a lengthy queue for his affections, so you'll just have to wait in line, like everyone else! ;)

  228. Guest

    My soon-to-be daughter-in-law speaks Louisiana Creole French. That's a weird dialect.

  229. Guest

    Right. And if John Wayne says hold down the fort then hold down the fort it will be.

  230. Guest

    I mean the language people spoke over 300 yrs ago when they came to North America.
    Let me get my tweezers out.
    Just a simple girl, like i like'em.

  231. Guest

    My brother used to sing 'away in a manger, no crisps in his bed'

  232. Guest that would make any French Canadian laugh their butt off, especially a lengthy one. (a queue being a penis in FC joual)

  233. Guest

    I spent a week sleeping in my car in New Orleans many many years to hear that "weird" dialect from quite a few people...very funny, but let me tell you, if you heard some of the French Canadian's living room conversations around the Gaspe would say weird again.

  234. robertallen1

    Oh, then you really mean modern French--that is if you're referring to the French who came to this continent about 300 years ago.

    The remainder of your post is gibberish.

  235. Guest

    as a photographer i picture you as the narrator David Starkey of The Six Wifes, of course you look different in reality.

  236. Earthwinger

    Phew! It's a good job I didn't use the phrase "queue jumping" then. :D

  237. Guest

    And a cheese and crisp butty afterwards :)

  238. Guest

    Here are three mispronunciations my 8 year-old has made recently that you might find funny: Cuttage cheese, Big-toe-ven (for Beethoven), and Viagra Falls... He keeps DELIBERATELY mispronouncing Beethoven's name, and insists he's a dog!

    He has a real ACCIDENTAL flair for language which I'm pretty sure he gets from me.

  239. Guest

    Viagra Fall is great, we have pump back whales and bottle neck dolphins.

  240. Guest

    heard Frank Einstein and not by a kid. az

  241. Guest

    Golden brown texture like sun, lays me down with my manchearons - had no clue what that was supposed to be 'til about 5 years ago.

  242. Guest

    Lol. Those are fantastic!

  243. Diego_Garrido

    It's been blocked by bbc. Vlatkoooooooo!

  244. Guest

    I love his last sentence. He's actually poking fun at the ones that get all twisted over this.

  245. Yi Wen Qian

    Someone posted it on my facebook, but about another video, I couldn't remember which one exactly but I laughed so hard I decided to watch them all.

  246. Yi Wen Qian

    I don't know, as I said before he lights up the god area of my brain!

  247. Yi Wen Qian

    It's always awkward when language is evolving, especially when it mutates in the middle of someone's lifetime. I'm still trying to get over the fact that bling now means jewellery.

  248. Guest

    Sorry Yi, bling has been and gone. Even my 7 year old laughed when I said it :(

  249. Yi Wen Qian

    Hey, but your 7 yr old understood it's meaning. :P

  250. Ken Fletcher

    The African languages, such as Xhosa, do not "consist" of clicks and whistles. They include these alongside more common language sounds such as /p/, /b/, /t/, /g/, etc.

    Very few languages include the /? / and /ð/ sounds so common in English (spelled 'th'). Why do so many languages have a somewhat common lineage except English?

  251. Guest

    I was speaking broadly I suppose. I understand the language doesn't entirely consist of clicks and whistles. My question is why did it not spread as humans spread.

    As for English, that's a touchy subject. In the end it boils down to who you ask. One of my favorite lines is from a Dawkins doc when he and a linguist (I think) were discussing this. The joke between them was "How can it be said that English is not a romantic language when more than 80% is derived from Latin and and the other romantic languages".

    But more to the point, all languages don't have a single common root, rather each language shares a root with other languages, except this one. And no other language has this language as a root.

  252. Guest

    It's really awkward not having a TV or listening to commercial radio. My friends must constantly try to keep me updated. My girlfriend often serves as an interpreter.

    By the way, what is bling? Just kidding.

  253. robertallen1

    "No other language has this language (English) as a root." Have you ever heard of Pidgin English? There are many dialects spoken throughout the world and guess what they all stem from.

    "Each language shares a root with other languages, except this one (English)." I have no clear idea what you mean by this. However, I recommend the article on "language isolates" in Wikipedia.

    I really wish you would read up on a topic before writing about it.

  254. Guest

    I"m talking of Xhosa. And quit your silly third grade crap with me. I have no interest in anything you say.

  255. robertallen1

    As you seem to have so much difficulty even reading your own posts, you need third grade treatment. You were blogging about English.

  256. Yi Wen Qian

    No, he didn't mean English, it was another language he was talking about. Also, he wasn't replying to you.

  257. tomregit

    @ Az.
    Az, Az, oh Az. Did you just make that up? It's the funniest thing I have ever heard you say, and that's saying a lot!

  258. tomregit

    Attention everyone! Language cop on the beat. Let's all pass our comments through Robert so they don't come out $hit., once they passed through him......hmm... that wouldn't work either. Sorry Robert, you'll just have to continue the onerous task of keeping an eye on everyone here. I just hope my post passes muster; I know you'll let me know.

  259. Guest

    I caught you making a fool of yourself not long ago...and here we go again. I sincerely hope you are not an english teacher, not because you don't write english well but because it must be such a pain to have you over one's shoulder constantly.
    Plus you are obviously wrong here about Lakhotason writing those phrases about English...see the thread... he replied to Ken Fletcher.
    As you say: "I really wish you would read up on a topic before writing about it".

  260. tomregit

    Since you use the term so often, I'm going to assume you know what formal English is. I would pose the question: Why would anyone use formal English when writing here? Now please, just to demonstrate you know what you speak of, show where I've deviated from formal English. There are at least four examples, can you find more?

  261. robertallen1

    In answer to your query:

    1. Are you referring to "I would pose the question" with its odd and unnecessary use of the conditional which I keep encountering more and more, e.g., I would doubt when I doubt is just fine. I find this as affected as "I could care less," in that it negatively draws attention to itself.

    2. Are you referring to "what you speak of," a construction used by some of the best writers, formally and informally, and those who cavil against it know nothing about the English language. "The Language Wars" by Henry Hitchings has a fine article on this.

    3. Are you referring to your two contractions?

    In short, I never stated that these blogs should be written in formal English.

  262. robertallen1

    It's a shame that you don't take pride in what you write.

  263. tomregit

    The shame is you take pride in writing such banality

  264. robertallen1

    Your problem is you have nothing to write.

  265. tomregit

    Yes, it's similar to "I keep encountering more and more" when "I encounter more and more" is just fine. Does it qualify as affectation? Now you choose to criticize writing style when it is linguistically correct.
    These are not "blogs". When you inform others that their writing is not formal English the implication is that it is improper in this setting. Read your own posts please.

  266. robertallen1

    No, it qualifies as an intensive--however, I will defer to your emendation--on second thought, perhaps I should have simply written "I keep encountering" and let it go at that.

    When have I ever informed anyone that because his writing is informal, it has no place here. Informal language is fine; ignorant language isn't.

  267. tomregit

    IMPLIED not informed. Your comprehension is slipping. We can at least agree on the ignorant language comment. If you so choose,you may now have last word.

  268. tomregit

    Were it so, there would be no need for you to reply.

  269. robertallen1

    No, you're the one who inferred and as for your comprehension, the less said about that.

  270. tomregit

    Like some others here I too watch almost no TV. Being Canadian, damn hockey still pulls me in sometimes.
    When listening to two friends discussing who would be voted off America's Next Somethingorother I suggested they should try watching with the sound off. When they asked what the point of that would be, I told them that in the quietness they would probably be able to hear their brain cells dying. They didn't like my humor.

  271. Jes Cervoni

    As a fellow Canadian, I couldn't have said it better myself.

  272. TimOsmand

    bloodcleet! Me na know what da pussywhole ya'll chat bout. Seen? But me no bussiness anyway. Gwan den.

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