The Story of Language

With Dan Everett

Welcome to The Story of Language: an original podcast series about language, linguistics, cognition, and culture. If you would like to contact us, you can find us on Twitter @storyoflanguage or email us at

Available wherever you get your podcasts

Meet Dan Everett 

In this episode you will meet Dan, and we will talk about the story of his life, including his upbringing near the Mexican border, his research stays with hunter-gatherers in the Amazon jungle, hunting giant anacondas, his famous disagreement with Noam Chomsky, and what his lifetime of work can tell us about language, thought, and being human.

The Piraha Language

In this episode we talk about the Piraha language, and what it tells us about the intersection of language and culture. We also talk about the practice of the science of linguistics, animal vs human communication, universal translation, and what unites and what divides us as humans.

What is culture?

In this episode we talk about culture: we discuss exactly what it is, how it exists on a macro and micro level, how it affects our language and our cognition, and how without it, we would die.

Linguistic Relativity

In this episode we talk about linguistic relativity: the idea that the language we speak can change the way we think.

Field linguistics

In this episode we talk about the theory and the practice of field linguistics, including how to survive in the field, what to take, and what to bring back.

How Language Began

In this episode we talk about how language began, including language evolution vs language change, how animal and human communication are similar and different, and the evidence for why language is probably millions of years old, not thousands.

Metaphor in language

In this episode we talk about the fundamental role of metaphor in language, from its involvement in the creation and evolution of language to its role in the modern understanding of language through the work of Lakoff and Johnson, and the study of semiotics.

Language Acquisition

In this episode we talk about the big questions in language acquisition. Is there a Language Acquisition Device? Is language learned or innate? How does child learning differ from adult learning? Should syntax be the basis for language analysis? And are humans really the only things on the planet with language, or do other animals have it too?

Release date: 18th April

Available wherever you get your podcasts