A Garden Series

Evolution of Language

4 talksHow do languages evolve?  From the origins of language to bilingualism, this series journeys into the mysteries of this uniquely human trait and the power it has to change our world.

Language is unique to humans - no other animal on earth uses language to communicate.  Language enables us to network our intelligence and collaborate to build civilisations.  It’s how we express ideas, negotiate, give directions and share love.  But what was the origin of language and how has language evolved?

In this series we go on a journey from the origins of language to how languages evolve and die, gaining greater understanding of why language is so important to how we live, human progress and our own identity. 

4 talks in this Garden Series
Is our language the key to our past?

Dr John Gallagher

Travel, mobility, and migration were instrumental in making Early modern England a multilingual landscape. But when did the English start speaking English and, how confident were early speakers in the scope of this fast-evolving language?

How do languages evolve?

Professor Simon Kirby

Language sets humankind apart from other species. Even our closest primate relatives haven't developed the same ability to acquire & use language. Why are humans the only species with language and how did language evolve?

Can life be both wonderful and terrible at the same time?

Prof. Shannon Murray

The modern world is increasingly polarised; we see things in black and white. How can Shakespeare teach us to hold two conflicting ideas in our heads simultaneously?

Could anyone become perfectly bilingual?

Antonella Sorace

More than half the world speaks two or more languages fluently. And yet being bilingual is a label often reserved for native speakers who learn multiple languages as children. Can you both 'be' and 'become' bilingual?

Thu, 25 Aug 2022 6:30 pm UTC

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