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Expert Reactions

Size matters in language evolution – experts respond

John Kerr posted in on February 3rd, 2015.

When it comes to new words, size matters. An Australian-based study of 20 Polynesian languages, including New Zealand Maori, suggests that widely-spoken languages gain new words more frequently while those with just a few speakers tend to lose words faster. How the size of a population affects the evolution of language is unclear. Do languages […]

Growing Up in NZ report – in the news

John Kerr posted in on June 19th, 2014.

The latest report from the Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal study, ‘Now We Are Two‘, has delved deep into the not-so-private lives of the average toddler The report, released this week, provides new insight into the lives of two-year-olds in New Zealand – describing health and safety, emotional and behavioural development, and early learning […]

New Zealand’s linguistic ‘superdiversity’

John Kerr posted in on March 8th, 2013.

New Zealand is ‘superdiverse’, having seen unprecedented increases in the ethnic, cultural, social and linguistic diversity of the New Zealand population in the last few decades. But how do we, as a nation, deal with the numerous language issues that this diversity creates? A new policy paper, launched this week by the Royal Society of […]

Media Coverage: Kiwi linguists making headlines

John Kerr posted in on April 15th, 2011.

Not one, but two high-profile research articles were published this week by linguists from Auckland University, and have received extensive coverage by global media. Research from Prof  Russell Gray and colleagues challenged Noam Chomsky’s universal language rules in a paper published in Nature (a simplified explanation of the research can be seen here). Meanwhile, Dr […]

Stuff Science: New Zealand fish language recorded

Peter Griffin posted in on July 7th, 2010.

Kiran Chug writes for the Dominion Post about the discovery by local scientists that New Zealand fish ‘talk’. Some species talk more than others, however – while goldfish are completely silent, gurnard and bigeyes make grunting and popping sounds. An excerpt: (read in full here) “His study began two years ago, when he started listening […]

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