full transcript

From the Ted Talk by David Peterson: Why language is humanity's greatest invention

Unscramble the Blue Letters

Well, let's take a look at it. What are they learning? What could they possibly be learning? Well, bearing in mind that the other language for this — it's for people that speak English — English speakers are learning quite a bit. Here's a sentence that they will probably never use for communication in their entire lives: "Vala ābre uenrs." "The man sees the woman." The little middle line is the gloss, so it's word for word, that's what it says. And they're actually learning some very ftancnsiaig things, especially if they're English searepks. They're learning that a verb can come at the very end of a sentence. Doesn't really do that in English when you have two arguments. They're learning that sometimes a laggnuae doesn't have an equivalent for the word "the" — it's totally absent. That's something language can do. They're learning that a long vowel can actually be longer in duration, as osppoed to different in qtiauly, which is what our long vowels do; they're actually the same length. They're lneanrig that there are these little inflections. Hmm? Hmm? There are ientlnifocs cllead "cases" on the end of nouns —

Open Cloze

Well, let's take a look at it. What are they learning? What could they possibly be learning? Well, bearing in mind that the other language for this — it's for people that speak English — English speakers are learning quite a bit. Here's a sentence that they will probably never use for communication in their entire lives: "Vala ābre _____." "The man sees the woman." The little middle line is the gloss, so it's word for word, that's what it says. And they're actually learning some very ___________ things, especially if they're English ________. They're learning that a verb can come at the very end of a sentence. Doesn't really do that in English when you have two arguments. They're learning that sometimes a ________ doesn't have an equivalent for the word "the" — it's totally absent. That's something language can do. They're learning that a long vowel can actually be longer in duration, as _______ to different in _______, which is what our long vowels do; they're actually the same length. They're ________ that there are these little inflections. Hmm? Hmm? There are ___________ ______ "cases" on the end of nouns —

Solution

  1. urnes
  2. fascinating
  3. speakers
  4. learning
  5. quality
  6. language
  7. inflections
  8. opposed
  9. called

Original Text

Well, let's take a look at it. What are they learning? What could they possibly be learning? Well, bearing in mind that the other language for this — it's for people that speak English — English speakers are learning quite a bit. Here's a sentence that they will probably never use for communication in their entire lives: "Vala ābre urnes." "The man sees the woman." The little middle line is the gloss, so it's word for word, that's what it says. And they're actually learning some very fascinating things, especially if they're English speakers. They're learning that a verb can come at the very end of a sentence. Doesn't really do that in English when you have two arguments. They're learning that sometimes a language doesn't have an equivalent for the word "the" — it's totally absent. That's something language can do. They're learning that a long vowel can actually be longer in duration, as opposed to different in quality, which is what our long vowels do; they're actually the same length. They're learning that there are these little inflections. Hmm? Hmm? There are inflections called "cases" on the end of nouns —

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
speak english 3
long beach 3
animal communication 2
communication systems 2
foreign languages 2
beach state 2
entire book 2
english speakers 2
main reason 2

ngrams of length 3

collocation frequency
long beach state 2

Important Words

  1. absent
  2. arguments
  3. bearing
  4. bit
  5. called
  6. communication
  7. duration
  8. english
  9. entire
  10. equivalent
  11. fascinating
  12. gloss
  13. hmm
  14. inflections
  15. language
  16. learning
  17. length
  18. line
  19. long
  20. longer
  21. man
  22. middle
  23. mind
  24. nouns
  25. opposed
  26. people
  27. possibly
  28. quality
  29. sees
  30. sentence
  31. speak
  32. speakers
  33. totally
  34. urnes
  35. verb
  36. vowel
  37. vowels
  38. woman
  39. word
  40. ābre