We generally think about language as a THING: letters, sounds, signs. But little bits of silence or invisibility are found surprisingly often in language.
Episode 23 of Lingthusiasm, the podcast that's enthusiastic about linguistics, is a tour through the various kinds of linguistic nothings 🎧💚🕳️
Listen here or on your favourite podcast app https://soundcloud.com/lingthusiasm/23-when-nothing-means-something
When looking at a biological “family tree” (such as the evolutionary history of the horse), the general public insists on seeing any movement as intrinsically “progressive”, moving from “primitive” to “advanced” designs. Yet somehow when looking at the linguistic equivalent (such as the development of the Romance languages from Vulgar Latin) they see exactly the reverse – any change is proof that the language is in decline. In reality they're just as wrong both times!
Dialects in the Mist Contrary to linguistic myth, people living west of the Mississippi use distinctive dialects, right down to residents of Portland, Oregon. Pacific Northwest native Jeff Conn finds himself “cot” in the vowel shifts and rising intonations of a coalescing dialect.