8.14.14: All About Language
Prove it, learned behavior, survival of the fittest, organic produce… scientific terminology is part of our common language, but are we using the terms correctly? Today is all about language: starting with our frequent misuse of scientific terms. Plus, France’s government is banning English words like ‘fast-food’ and ‘hashtag’ in the name of cultural preservation…we find out why the words are unlikely to disappear from the vernacular anytime soon. And, deaf Americans who work in science have a unique challenge – helping to develop a scientific vocabulary for sign language.
Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.
Misused Science Terms
- Annalee Newitz, is editor-in-chief at io9, Gawker Media’s science fiction blog. Her article, “Ten Scientific Ideas Scientists Wish You Would Stop Misusing,” compiles the opinions of a group of scientists about their worst pet peeves when it comes to misusing scientific terminology.
Sign Language for Science
- Douglas Quenqua is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Wired, Fast-Company, and the New York Times—where he wrote about how users of sign language are working to expand their scientific lexicon.
Keep Calm and Carry On: A History Lesson
- On Tumblr, outside stores and littering the walls of college dorm rooms, the “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster has become so prevalent and its versions so numerous. We talked to Henry Irving about his article for theconversation.com in which he explores the suprising World War II origins of this slogan.
English’s Loaned Words
- Britt Peterson is a freelance writer and editor who writes about books, culture, and ideas. Her article, “English, Loanword Champion of the World!” discusses the high percentage of “loaned words” from the English language, and our own word-borrowing habits.
The Origins of Rock and Roll
- ThoughtCast's Jenny Attiyeh's brings us a story that tries to get at the roots of rock n' roll. We know it when we hear it, but what is it, really?
- Jason Boog is director of story investigation at True Pictures. When he became a dad, he wanted his daughter to grow up loving books. So, he talked to doctors and authorities on child development, education and literature to get the latest advice on encouraging today’s kids to read. The result is Born Reading: Bringing Up Bookworms in a Digital Age.
Freakonomics: The Pros and Cons of a Second Language
- Reading books is an essential ingredient for developing a child’s language skills… but what is the value in teaching children a second language? Freakonomics radio spent an entire episode investigating that very question, and discovered some pretty startling numbers.