The Ling Space is dedicated to bringing you varied, accessible, and up-to-date content and discussion about linguistics and other language topics.

Let's be frank - language is awesome.

We use it all the time. We make jokes, we read signs, we give speeches. From infancy onward, we use language to communicate our moods, our thoughts, our desires. As humans, language is the #1 way we express ourselves in the world, and it's one of the things that define us. 

But have you ever really thought about how language works? Not how you spell, or whether you can leave a preposition at the end of a sentence. But how we acquire language so quickly, becoming people who think and speak and dream in words before we can really cut our own food. Or how we can use it so effortlessly, working out what someone means when their speech is flying at us at two hundred words a minute, usually without even realizing we're doing it.

How do we know that "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously" is nonsense but its grammar is OK, but "Green furiously colorless sleep ideas" doesn't even have that? (And we can still make sense of "Sasha maked me delicious sandwich" in spite of the grammatical mistakes.) How do we sense that a sentence like “The detective found the burglar with binoculars” has two different meanings? How do we tell that someone sounds like they have an accent? Why is learning a second language often so much harder than learning your first?

That’s the study of linguistics – all of that, and more. Here at The Ling Space, we'll be uploading a new video every Wednesday to spotlight the science behind our awesome ability to learn language, speak it, hear it, and use it. Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and get involved in the debate on our Discussion pages!