Where Did Language Come From?

8th February 2018

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Week

Jordan Peterson’s book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, has been floating at the top of the Amazon best-sellers listing for several weeks, so we had to see what all the hullabaloo was about. Peterson’s book is an intriguing mixture of deeply researched psychology, philosophy, religious studies, and history, with a connective tissue of neuroscience and real-life experiences. Given our own not-so-hot experiences with communism, we were gratified to see that Peterson, unlike many modern academicians, didn’t brush right over one of the most horrific movements, (alongside the often unspoken ravages of colonialism), of the last several hundred years. (See the magnificent King Leopold’s Ghost for more on colonialism’s shadows.)  

Peterson’s book forms a worthwhile effort to find an inspiring, rather than nihilistic, worldview of life and of learning. Read it yourself to see what all the hype is about. Peterson, with his wonderfully listenable accent from rural Canada, reads the audio version of his book. (You may be able to get two free audiobooks through this link.)

Brain Pickings!

Thanks to Arthur Worsley, we’ve been introduced to the insightful, beautifully written website “Brain Pickings.”  Check out Maria Popova’s latest posting there, “Nobel-Winning Physicist Niels Bohr on Subjective vs. Objective Reality and the Uses of Religion in a Secular World.”  As Popova so eloquently makes clear, the challenge of integrating a worldview with a way of life has drawn in some of the world’s greatest thinkers.

Where Did Language Come From?

A major unanswered question in science is how language evolved.  Watch this fast-paced video that summarizes MIT linguist Shigeru Miyagawa’s intriguing hypothesis about the origins of language. Shigeru has also long been one of the key players in open access online learning—he’s a man to watch.

The Learning Zone—An Interesting Website for Teachers and Students about Learning

LHTLer Massimo Curatella pointed us towards this intriguing website, where teachers can ask questions about learning to a great variety of experts in education, psychology, and neuroscientist.  Check it out! (We love the site’s tongue-in-cheek subtitle: I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here!)

Online Learning Course of the Week

We’ve been enjoying Idahosa Ness’s course The Flow of Portuguese, which teaches the basic sound and flow of Portuguese through bits of music. Everything is lovingly put together so that you learn chunk by tiny chunk. If you’ve been trying to get a bit of a feel for Portuguese, this is the perfect course for you.  It’s a different enough approach that you can take this course even if you’re learning another language, such as Spanish, through other more conventional methods.  To get a feel for Idahosa’s funny take on life and language learning, take a look at his video rapping in 8 languages—although he doesn’t actually speak 8 languages…

That’s all for this week. Have a happy week in Learning How to Learn!

Barb, Terry, and the entire Learning How to Learn team

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