Podcast Assignment

Throughout this web show we are able to see just how important language is in the role of communication between not only people, but how we communicate with objects through “Words”.

  1. I felt as if the genre of the podcast was self-discovery, I say this because the theme of the segment was “Words”, however it goes further than that because it aims to display how language influences the way we perceive the world. The features of the show are that the hosts bring in several different guests to talk about their knowledge and experience with language. It serves to show how through their independent research and experiments they have formulated a way to perceive language. Research comes into play in most of the examples in breaking down the functions of the brain in making connections to language, more specifically with the Shapiro example, this professor shows how Shakespeare was able to connect words into phrases we use every day such as “Knock, knock, who’s there?”.
  2. I feel like a science based podcast like such is comparable to an advertisement in a few different ways. First off, the basis of an advertisement is to communicate a certain thing to a certain person. The aim of communicating that idea is to show how it can be applied to their life in a better way. For example, an ad for a cooking device is usually going to be advertised on some sort of home cooking channel instead of sports channel. It will be advertised to show its benefits in making cooking easier to the consumer. Similarly, a science advertisement is used to show how a certain theory about science can be applied to someone’s knowledge and applied to their everyday. Susan Schallers example showed how she was able to teach that 27-year old deaf man language through linking objects with their names via sign language. This example can be applied as a teaching method for anyone struggling to communicate with a deaf person.
  3. The facts in this show are instrumental in making the connection in describing the importance of language in communicating. The first anecdote shows how a teacher, Schaller, goes through the process of teaching her student how to learn sign language because he did not have a language he knew so he was not able to communicate. After several trial and error methods are attempted she finally is able to teach him by acting out a teaching skit, the facts here are that this method was able to show the student how people use objects and titles to communicate. The student then had a breakthrough and understood it. The next anecdote was done by Charles Fernyough who set up an experiment where he tested a rats ability to find a biscuit in a room where all the walls were painted white, then the rat was picked up and spun around. This was done to see if the rat would remember which direction it was running in, fifty percent of the time the rat was able to find the biscuit again. This is an example of how the facts were instrumental because it proved infants were on the same level as rats because they were asked which way was left right or blue or white. The study found infants couldn’t distinguish between color or left and right until the age of around 6. These facts help demonstrate how the infant is able to make these connections once it reaches this point of maturation at 6 on describing the ability to connect ideas as islands that come together to make 6 year-olds talk. Fernyough then experimented by having adults listen to an audio recording, he would then have them repeat everything they heard on the audio, they were asked to explain what they were just repeating and they could not. This showed how the human brain relates to the rat in another way because they could not comprehend what was being blasted in their brain. The third example was done by James Shapiro, a professor on Shakespearian language, he described Shakespeare as more of an experimenter of language than a writer. He said that Shakespeare brought terms together and used them more loosely in communication. He brought words that were not used in the way he used them, and would use them together to form phrases that described action and imagery, Shapiro says Shakespeare invented the term “Knock, knock, who’s there?”. These facts collectively show how language is a vital form of communication because it connects the things we identify as objects or actions and helps us explain and communicate them.
  4. In the segment there are a lot of audio effects played over the speaker when certain things are said. I thought this was a key element in engaging the listener, if they were speaking with no sounds coming on behind them it would sound less interesting, for me it would lose my attention quickly and often. When they bring in Fernyough to talk about the babies they play a sort of ambient type of music to bring the listener in to more of an intimate experience, it truly made imagining the situation different. Then when talking about the rats there was less music, I felt to make it more of an explicit tone. Another example came when Jill Bolte Taylor described not having a voice in her head after she had a stroke, even though she was in a bad state of health she felt as if it were liberating and in order to bring the listener more closely to understanding the feeling she had they played that ambient noise again over her dialect. I feel like this method of playing soft music behind the speaker is beneficial to the comprehension of the listener because there is more substance brought into the conversation.
  5. If required to write a radio ad on bringing attention to poor literacy rates in the nation I would make the ad in a similar way to how this radio segment was done. The panel of hosts for the radio show did not just present facts, they brought in people with great experience involving language and communication. I would run an ad where I spoke about the importance of funding being better allocated and I would bring on either athletes or other well-known celebrities to bring more attention to the listener. The ad will engage more people if I am not the only one talking about, if people recognize people from popular culture they will likely retain the message more. That is one thing that was beneficial from listening to the segment it showed me how they were successful in presenting their theme of Words and how words affect the way we live our everyday lives and how they essentially change the way we see things.
  6. The NPR segment, “Words” was very informative in displaying a connection behind the assignment of words to phrases. I did not realize how rats and infant humans were on similar levels of IQ in the sense that babies could not solve certain tasks any better than a rat could. Another thing I did not realize was how humans could not multi task in focusing on repeating what they were listening while also retaining that information. But perhaps the most striking to me was how genius Shakespeare was in putting words that were not commonly seen in the form of phrases. These were things I did not realize or appreciate because these are thing that first off humans are limited by, and second I did not appreciate the method behind the formation of phrases that we use every day.
  7. I really liked analyzing this segment because it gave me a much different perspective to how our brain makes connections when it comes to communicating with others and objects. I did not appreciate the brains ability to make connections and I found the different stories and demonstrations to be informative to the overall connection to how words effect everyday life. Further I felt that the hosts were credible through their years of experience so I felt I was learning something that was factually proven and based off. That was more with the Fernyough and Schaller methods that I felt the facts really set up my understanding of these connections. With Shapiro I was just straight up amazed with his description of Shakespeare’s methods, it is truly inspiring to see how Shakespeare was doing something nobody had done before him yet he has become critically acclaimed for eternity.

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