Mon, 9 December 2019

6:45 pm - 8:00 pm

Don’t Believe a Word – A Journey Through the New Science of Language

David Shariatmadari


The Art Worker's Guild

6 Queen Square, London, WC1N 3AT

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‘Wonderful… [Shariamadari leaves you] more alive than ever to the enduring mystery and miracle of that thing that makes us most human’ – Stephen Fry

Did you know that there’s a special part of the brain that produces swear words, that some languages change when your mother-in-law is present, and that the language you speak could make you more prone to accidents?

We use language every day without thinking about it – yet have only the vaguest idea what it really is, and how it works. Today linguistics can explain how and why language changes, describe its structures and map its activity in the brain. But most of us know as much about language today as we did about physics before Galileo, and the little we know is still largely based on folklore, instinct or hearsay.

Linguist and editor David Shariatmadari joins the How To Academy to take us on a journey through the science of language, urging us to abandon our prejudices in a bid to uncover the far more interesting truth about what we do with words. Is English going to the dogs? Are there really words in other languages that are impossible to translate? Can you teach an animal how to speak? Does the concept of ‘Italian’ or ‘Spanish’ actually make any sense? Join us to discover the answer to all these questions and many more.