Why do we Talk? BBC Horizon Episodes

We will be using this series of videos as a springboard for our next SOCRATIC TWITTER SEMINAR (after Spring Break). 

Please think of questions as you view.









Veiled Language and Inuendo: Language and Human Nature

Language expert Steven Pinker

READ HIS INTERVIEW (or see that video) for more after you watch the animated one:


Language is “distinctively human” and therefore, he believes, a window into our nature.

***If you are interested, you can buy the entire book “The Stuff of Thought” HERE




Inuendo, “Polite speak , Euphemisms, Veiled Language….what do these say about us?

He discusses these 3 basic human relationship types and how Language works with them:

1. Dominance

2. Communality

3. Reciprocity

How do divergent understandings of these lead to…AWKWARDNESS

Why do we resort to INDIRECTNESS even when we know what is going on? 

What does it mean when something is “OUT THERE”? Can you ever take back “Overt” language?

How do his comments on crowdsourcing and social protest (i.e.MULTUAL KNOWLEDGE relate world events today? How does EXPLICIT language foster mutual knowledge?

Here’s an excellent blog post debriefing some of the thoughts in the video: http://meteuphoric.wordpress.com/2010/01/13/why-not-say-what-mea/


Words…and life without them (Brainpickings post)

Brain Pickings is perhaps my favorite web site, curated by Maria Popova.

Here’s her excellent blog post on WORDS...with tons of links for you to check out.



Why are words important? Here’s a short film that examines a world without them.


WORDS from Everynone on Vimeo.

Speed of Language Infographic