Language

Start your visit with the discovery of language. What is language? How do we recognise it? How different species communicate? How do we produce sounds? … You will find the answers to these questions in this dedicated space, and don’t forget to test your knowledge before continuing your visit!

Key definitions

Linguistics

Everyone knows the definition of a word, of language …
But are you really sure? What is double articulation?

  • Definitions: Languages / Language / Speech
  • Double articulation
  • Prescription & description

Phonology / Discovering sounds

Do we all speak the same way? Do we produce the same sounds? How does our body produce sound?

  • Definitions: Phonetics & Phonology
  • Definition: Prosody
  • Acoustic phonetics
  • The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)
  • Series of movies with phonetic subtitles
  • Phonological systems of six languages
  • The various types of phones and the articulation zone
  • Tonal languages
  • Click languages
  • Whistled languages
  • Whispers

Playing with sounds / Phonology games

Test your ear with the quiz, extracts from soundtracks…

  • Languages spoken by foreigners
  • Languages spoken in regions
  • World languages (easy and advanced levels)
  • Regional languages
  • Accents

Language partners

Do we only communicate with our voice? Discover the different ways that we express ourselves: nonverbal communication, tone, voice, context …

  • Gestures
  • Images
  • Voice
  • Context
  • Practical science
  • Writing
  • Talking with your hands: The Italian example
  • Smilies
  • A dictionary of gestures

The semantics / Discovering the meaning of words

Analyse the nature of linguistic signs: the signified and the signifier, the concrete and the abstract. Discover the difference between what we mean and how we say it.

  • Onomatopoeia
  • Animal sounds
  • Notions: abstract & concrete
  • Definitions: metaphor & metonymy
  • Some concepts

Lexicology / Discovering words

Did you know that the word is an elusive concept around the world? Find out why. Jobs closely related to words. And when humans are replaced by machines: delve into the workings of machine translation.

  • Definition: the word
  • How does vocabulary expand?
  • Job focus: lexicographer
  • Job focus: translator
  • Job focus: interpreter
  • Job focus: audiovisual translator
  • Can you trust Google Translate? Some funny examples
  • Machine translation
  • Lost in translation: the case of “Spanish Mundolingua”
  • Translation & economy: the cost of translations for the European Parliament in Brussels

Grammar & syntax

Learn to dissect sentences. Discover their nature, structure and function. Grammar has never been so much fun!

  • Grouping languages by type
  • The shapes and types of languages
  • Syntax: an overview
  • Verb scrolls
  • Focus on syntax perception: Chomsky’s Tree
  • Focus on syntax perception: Tesnière’s Planets
  • Focus on syntax perception: the building blocks of a sentence