Radiolab: Words

It's almost impossible to imagine a world without words. But in this hour of Radiolab, we try to do just that. Listen at 9 a.m. or 9 p.m. PT.

We meet a woman who taught a 27-year-old man the first words of his life, hear a firsthand account of what it feels like to have the language center of your brain wiped out by a stroke, and retrace the birth of a brand new language 30 years ago.


GUESTS: Charles FernyhoughSusan SchallerAnn SenghasJames ShapiroElizabeth Spelke and Jill Bolte Taylor

TAGS: idea explorermind bending


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Words that Change the World


Susan Schaller believes that the best idea she ever had in her life had to do with an isolated young man she met one day at a community college. He was 27-years-old at the time, and though he had been born deaf, no one had ever taught him to sign. ...

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A World Without Words


One morning, neurologist Jill Bolte Taylor woke up with a headache. A blood vessel then burst inside her left hemisphere, and silenced all the brain chatter in her head. She was left with no language. No memories. Just sensory intake, and an all-encompassing feeling of joy.

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New Words, New World


In the late 1970s, a new language was born. And Ann Senghas, Associate Professor of Psychology at Barnard, has spent the last 30 years helping to decode it. In 1978, 50 deaf children entered a newly formed school--a school in which the teachers (who didn't sign) taught in Spanish. No ...

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