Recent Posts

Interview with a recent PhD graduate: Dr. Ella Lattenkamp

Dr. Ella Lattenkamp was a PhD student at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and the Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich. She defended her thesis entitled ‘Vocal Learning in the Pale Spear-Nosed Bat, Phyllostomus discolor’ on April 23 2020.

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Reverse speaking? C’est ouf!

Slang is an important way for social groups to stress their cultural identity. Also, some slangs can be used to convey secret information within a community, without outsiders understanding what they are talking about. How does this work? Here, we look at an example from French and try to understand how slang words are learned and used.

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Zooming out during your video calls?

Imagine your laptop screen keeps freezing, the video of your friend or colleague suddenly lags and their speech sounds like a robot. You want to talk, but you are not sure about when to start your turn in conversation. There is an awkward silence. The screen turns black.

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Star Wars linguistics: Why Yoda’s English is truly alien

You don’t need to be a Star Wars fan to have heard of Yoda, a small but powerful Master Jedi. His most distinctive features are his small stature, large ears and strange word order.

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COVID-ification of language: Why people say rona instead of coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has changed our lives immensely. But it also transformed the way we speak. It brought to life new creative words like covidiot (someone who is foolishly reckless with respect to avoiding contracting or spreading COVID-19) and quarancation (a home-based substitute to a vacation abroad). But there are also more subtle innovations, which are no less fascinating.

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