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Language and (Mis)Communication


Here are the videos and discussion questions for this hangout: First question is homework! What bad translations have you seen, in movies, books, ads, etc. Do bad translations make you think twice about the seriousness of an author or company? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAm8ee_fooI Noam Chomsky - Communication and Language https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEmpRtj34xg&t=1s Noam Chomsky - Language and Thought https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAgp7nXdkLU Why Computers Suck At Translation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWDKsHm6gTA How languages evolve - Alex Gendler https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEaSxhcns7Y Where did English come from? - Claire Bowern https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qr8QsNCe3C4 Why do languages die? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3qbYFvOHwk Language Death: How do languages die? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKK7wGAYP6k&list=RDLVgAm8ee_fooI&index=3 How language shapes the way we think | Lera Boroditsky https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-9EyvA1QXE Lost in Translation | Janesh Rahlan | TEDxNorthwesternU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCfzeONu3Mo How miscommunication happens (and how to avoid it) - Katherine Hampsten 1. What are your language skills like? Do you think you use your language to the best of your ability or do you do the minimum to communicate? 2. Do you speak any languages besides your native one? How well, do you think? What is the benefit, if any, in speaking foreign languages? 3. Do you trust translations to be faithful to the original? Do you prefer a translation that sounds natural or one that maintains some link to the source language? What about texts from past centuries? 4. What is the connection between language and reality? 5. Do you enjoy wordplay and puns? 6. How offended are you by confusion of homonyms? 7. What is your opinion on conlangs? Are they only for fun or do they serve a useful purpose? 8. Some people advocate spelling simplification/"improvement" for the English language. Some countries make spelling changes regularly to keep pronunciation and orthography more or less close. Since language is constantly changing, does it make sense for spelling standards to keep up? 9. Do you have any comments or questions for the group about language or communication? Please remember to watch at least a few videos before you arrive since we’ll be discussing them when we begin. Once the hangout begins, everyone will introduce each other and then take turns asking the provided questions in order to keep the discussion on topic. Hangouts typically last 90 minutes, and once the hangout is over you will have the opportunity to add people to your buddytree to organize private hangouts and develop friendships. As always, these hangouts provide the opportunity for a thoughtful, respectful and engaging discussion in a safe space where disrespectful behaviour is not tolerated.

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