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WHY DO WE TALK?

PAGE 1
Watch the first part of the programme (to: minute 01:56), note down the questions posed by
the presenter and then discuss them with your teacher.

Watch the next part of the programme (to: minute 08:21) and make notes on Deb Roy’s
experiment - how they conducted it and what they discovered.

Why do you think we can talk but animals can’t? Watch the next part of the programme (to:
minute 13:52) and make notes on Tecuvseh Fitch’s experiment and what he concluded.

Discussion Do you agree with Tecuvseh Fitch’s conclusions?


Watch the next part of the programme (to: minute 23:00) and make notes on Steve Steere’s
experience and what experts are learning from it.

Discussion At what age do you think babies respond to speech? Watch the next part of the
programme (to: minute 26:35) and make notes on William Fifer’s conclusions.

Discussion What do you think makes learning language so easy as a child and so difficult as an
adult? Watch the next part of the programme (to: minute 31:08) and make notes on Christopher
Taylor and how he is helping us understand how we learn languages.
WHY DO WE TALK? PAGE 2
Discussion What do you know about Noam Chomsky’s theories? Watch the next part of the
programme (to: minute 33:06) and make notes on Chomsky’s theories.

Discussion Do you think talking is the product of nature or nurture? What is the ‘forbidden
experiment’? Watch the next part of the programme (to: minute 35:35), find out what the
‘forbidden experiment’ is and why Oxana Malaya proved not to be a good substitute for the
experiment.

Discussion How do you think scientists finally managed to conduct the ‘forbidden experiment’? Watch
the next part of the programme (to: minute 41:19) and make notes on Ofer Tchernichovski’s
experiment and his conclusions.

Discussion How do you think scientists located the ‘speech’ gene? Watch the next part of the
programme (to: minute 46:12) and make notes on what Faraneh Vargha-Khadem and her
team discovered.

Discussion When and why did we start to speak? Watch the next part of the programme (to:
minute 49:18) and make notes on what the experts think.

Watch the final part of the programme and make notes on the experiment to see how languages
develop and what the conclusions of the programme are.
WHY DO WE TALK? PAGE 3
Teacher’s notes
Total pages 3 / student pages 2 / week of 26.04.10 / DVD 57:00 mins / intermediate+ (B1+)