How to Think Like a Linguist

Listen to this episode

S1: This ad free podcast is part of your Slate Plus membership. The following podcast contains explicit language.

S2: From New York City. This is Lexicon Valley a podcast about language. I’m John McWhorter and this week we’re going to talk about what a linguist knows. I’m always saying well we linguists think well it’s something that a linguist would consider etc. or what is this stuff that we think is there a linguist frame of mind well yes there is we see language in a way that’s different from how the layman usually sees it.

S3: And that’s not only in that we don’t think that’s a such thing as people speaking wrong. That’s only the tip of the iceberg. We are taught to look at what I’m doing right now as having a certain Anatomy a certain physiology we have our own kind of table the elements you might call in our own anatomy chart our own for Thackeray and theorem et cetera and you might like to know what some of that is.

S4: On this show I’ve generally avoided giving you too much text book introduction to linguistics kind of material but you know I shouldn’t hold it back from you completely because a lot of it is once you wrap your head around it pretty neat stuff.

S3: So I just want to share with you some of the basic tools that we use when an old man now I’m not going to put it that way that sounds very remote. Some of the ways that we see language that differ from the way you might see language that can actually be kind of helpful if anything they give you a sense of why linguists see language with wonder instead of thinking of it as something to despair over if you are a linguist kind of person.

S5: Then one thing that distinguishes you is that you don’t think about letters you’re used to listening to people talk about letters and you instantly make a translation in your head. We don’t think about letters we think about sounds language has sounds and I don’t mean I don’t mean sounds like that I mean that we think of English as having not 26 letters. That’s utterly irrelevant. The vowels coming in in order AEI O U. That’s quite arbitrary. We think of language as having sounds like English as having depending on how you count it 44 sounds and that means that when we linguists write language then really if we’re doing it among ourselves we don’t use the letters that happen to be those of this thing called the English alphabet.

S3: We have a system it’s kind of a code I used to dread teaching to students assuming they’d find it boring they don’t. It’s the IPA and that’s not it’s not the hoppy beer that I still like. I can tell it’s gonna be one of those things.

S4: It’s like the California Chardonnay is the tasted really okey. I mean there there are sharp knees that taste like your furniture that became really hot in the 90s. I liked that kind of chardonnay then for some reason it just went out of style like Formica or bell bottoms or something people to stop drinking that they started drinking other kinds of chardonnay that frankly I have never thought where is good so nowadays I’m often hunting for those really Okie bench like Sharon needs because for me they do not go out of style and I’m gonna feel that way about IPA so I get the feeling they’ve already crested now I like that beer I like beer that hurts in any case the IPA for linguists is the International Phonetic Alphabet. Well why do we need that.

S3: Not just because there’s some dandy code but you have to think about the difference between how we write and what we’re actually saying because there can be such a gulf and beyond the sorts of things that we usually talk about at parties and so for example let’s take three words food good blood now they’re all spelled the same way food good blood all have Oh so you Oh oh now how do you spell Oh.

S6: Well it’s kind of obvious you have the two o’s. Oh okay. But there’s food but then there’s blood and you don’t say blood.

S7: So how do you spell Oh if you wanted to indicate how to pronounce that with our English alphabet. Well that’s easy to you do u h. OK so food and then for blood you might use the U H if you want to indicate it now.

S8: Good.

S7: How do you spell c you can’t use the two O’s because that’s already for you and you can’t use u h because that’s up. How do you spell Oh. And you can kind of make something up like EU G8 but then the question becomes how do you spell Oh. In a way that any reader of English would instantly understand exactly what you meant. So you just can’t. And that means that in the IPA O is what you think of as a U and then R is this kind of upside down V and then O is a kind of horseshit. We need to have all three of those to make it clear as opposed to this nimble guesswork that we do with the written o or how do you spell and not ACH but that if you don’t have a cur at the end of it.

S9: If you just write a exclamation point it might be r and h doesn’t spell. Well what does what spells the in cat. Well the IPA has a symbol that’s exactly for that.

S3: It looks like a and e leaning back to back like they’re posing for the beginning credits of some sitcom in the 1980s. This ash symbol as it’s called that’s how you do it but you need to be able to do it here. Here’s my favorite one. Picture these two words in what we call our writing system.

S5: So singer now finger they only differ in the sir and the foot s and f singer finger but notice that they don’t rhyme. Precisely so singer is singer but then finger is not the way anybody would say it. A finger would be somebody who things so whatever thinking would be we need not discuss it. That’s a finger who does it but that’s different from those things on your hands. Singer but finger. Now there’s some people who say singer. But most people don’t. And so for those of us who say singer and finger they don’t rhyme. So what’s going on. You think that in both of them you have an N and a G sound in the middle and in finger. You certainly do. But if singer is pronounced singer not singer then what’s up then you might think well we just say singer faster. But you know why why are we in a hurry. We say singer that’s not really it. It’s that even though those words are written to look so similarly they have different sounds in the middle finger is finger. You’ve got a name and a good you’ve got an an energy. Yeah but in singer really you’ve got something else that’s just yeah. And it’s not said any more quickly than finger singer finger. I said exactly the same pace. It’s that singer has this other thing in the middle it’s written energy but really it’s not energy it’s it’s own one sound. It has a name it’s called enema and it looks like an end with a long tail it’s like an end that has become a kind of a lemur. See the IPA is kind of fun. So singer with the enema in the middle not just an energy because you have to have a system that indicates why we say singer but finger. So that’s the IPA we don’t think of the letters because frankly the letters suck we think about sounds and we have a way of representing the sounds with our special kind of alphabet. And of course to the extent that the IPA is familiar at all out in the real world it’s probably from Pygmalion slash the musical version. My Fair Lady where you have Henry Higgins walking around transcribing the way people talk using his special code. Henry Higgins was based on an actual Henry suite who was one of the pioneers of this way of approaching sounds without letters. And I think it would be nice here to play something from my fair lady since it is time for music but wow it’s rather as they say about pop songs and overplayed musical. So I don’t want to just play you. Why can’t the English that song from the beginning. So let’s do it in German. And the reason I want to play in German is because one is just fun to hear American musicals and other languages. And also if you’re a friend of mine you’ve probably heard me do this in certain blots around New York. But it won’t be me. This will be a professional performer. And so this is why can’t the English which I bet a lot of you have already heard or if you haven’t. And go on YouTube and listen to it. Here it is in the German language where if you were German I imagine you would imagine that it had been written in German. Here comes.

S10: King came here and be much present condition. Stephen Lynch hey I could smack this. Vacancy out so stretching it out of easy it Bush. Oh damn. Intimacy Oh Christ. Man. I think.

S11: A big man. I’m against the Soviet gets any tough to speed traffic that comes out of us had to ensure 9 under England for. That. Blue light display. If indeed he meant me up linked Veolia it can but. Does. Bus clean to stay. To stop buying off for need this I’m straight for you that’s.

S8: So no letters. Talk about sounds but then even with sounds we have to get little more particular their sounds and then their sounds and what I mean by that is this. Let’s talk about pit and spit and an odd thing to talk about I know but even listen to this because I’m doing this at a microphone pit and spit. Did you hear how there was a little bit of a pop when I said pit so pit and spit both have a P in them but when I say the P in pit there’s a pop Peter pepper picked it there’s some studios where I have to have something put in front of the mike because apparently I pop my peas but then there’s spit. Now I didn’t say it. I said spit it’s a PITA but it’s a different kind of pea so pit spit.

S6: It’s kind of like if you isolate them it would be like this put but now to us that is a very minor detail. I’m telling you that the pea and spit and the Pea and pit are very slightly different but they’re both P and well there’s a who’d have thunk it but frankly who cares if that’s what linguistics was. I would be digging ditches or something else. But here’s the thing. Push and pull in other languages can be much more interesting because they can make the difference between one word and another. So Korean pool that’s not for Koreans I know I sound like somebodies dog but I’m trying so grass poop. There you go and you have the pea the popping the Peter Piper pop. I like that okay. But then that’s a different word that means fire so pool grass would fire the difference between the two is put is for grass well is for fire. So the puffy one that leaves a little bit of spit or vapor that makes it grass pool but if it’s the one that doesn’t leave all the spit in the vapor. In other words it’s that same pea that we use in English and a word like spit except imagine if you took the sur off of spit and just said pit. Notice that it well in Korean rule means fire. So that means that an English put and put are just variations on the same sound and an uninteresting way in Korean put and put our real sounds they are completely different. A Korean thinks of those as different sounds the way we put it in linguistics is that in Korean put and put our phonemes they are phonemes real sounds that can make a difference in a word but all sounds are not phonemes phoneme isn’t just a cute word for sound in linguistics in English put and put are just aloe phones we call them of the same thing no terminology there and that’s all I’m gonna give you quite yet but phonemes and Korean pop and put in English put input are kind of just who cares you can think of it as it’s just some shit and the technical word for that is Alla phone or here is another example take some Japanese words just to say this is just language as it is and we all know more Japanese words than we think you go to a Japanese restaurant and you’re going to have some beer Sapporo OK that’s something your teacher is Sensei so Sapporo Sensei New Year’s you have soba noodles so soba so OK I remember when I was a teenager and I was trying to tell my father that a woman seemed to want to have sex with me and I wasn’t sure if I was ready and he said well you’re just gonna have to do some soul searching like all of a sudden he was out a father knows best and that was all I got we were at a Subaru So Subaru soba Subaru Sensei Sapporo beer ok and then let’s try.

S4: There’s a mackerel dish that I only ever had in California and whenever I mentioned it on the east coast I’m looked at like I’m ordering an elephant’s ear on a bun Saba she’ll Yorkie. So Saba is macro and I frankly don’t know what SEO Yankee is Saba she’ll.

S12: Yes this is getting to a point just a little bit more so you just think about how Japanese words are shaped Osaka is some city then we talk about sushi. Okay. Very interesting. And then there’s like the word so that means roughly so in Japanese. So what’s going on with all of this is that you’re looking in your noticing that something doesn’t happen with all those words you’ve got your songs and your says and your SOs and your sous were going through the basic vowels because Japanese vowels are easy some say so so but never see. So it’s not Susi it’s Sue Shi it’s not Saba SEO Yaki it’s bus she oh Yukie if you look through you’ll see that it’s always she not see now you could just think of that as well. You know whatever. But the way a linguist sees it is that there’s something going on with her in that language which is that when so comes for foreign e it becomes she. So Sapporo beer Sensei soba noodles Subaru. But she yo Yorkie not seal Yorkie sushi she not Sushi. What that means is that in Japanese the difference between Sir and Sher is quote unquote just some shit in that way. Really. Sure. It’s just a kind of Sir. So that means that in our language sir and share a completely different sounds. There’s cell and there’s cell. Those are completely different words. There’s SAP and then there’s shit. No there isn’t but there’s Snape nothing that does work either. There’s sit and there’s shit. Frankly they are completely different words. OK but in Japanese it’s not like that. It’s really just that the show is a kind of sir. So sure. It’s just an alpha phone of a general ethnics in Japanese. That’s how we see these things. Those of you who know Japanese know that in words borrowed into Japanese such as from Chinese you can get shows in other ways. But that basic idea is that sir when you stick it before an eye if we’re gonna think about it as letters when it’s before the E sound it always becomes Shi and that means that you don’t have to write. Sure. In places like that in Japanese sushi is written in Japanese as sushi because everybody knows that when the surf comes for an EE you just pronounce it a sheet you get that for nothing you don’t have to write it. That’s just how the language goes. So aloe phones and phonemes phonemes make a difference. And so that’s the difference between bat and Pat. Okay. But Alfons are just variations on the sound that happen for various reasons.

S13: That is tricky to get across in classrooms and really is sort of the beginning of really getting how linguists think. Anyway the way to illustrate this is with a song called If you’ll be mine from a flop musical of 1948 called Look Ma I’m dancin and really this is Nancy Walker singing I’ve played her singing before I’m going to play her singing again this is Rodas mother singing and you know this is a song that it’s 1948 and it actually refers to buttocks you’ll catch it here it is the guy who comes in singing afterword is for those of you who care bill Shirley well and we lose sleep. Count sheep for you if you will. Make this what you. Kowtow to you if you will be Ma. Oh you oh. No would you not me make a play each day and pray for you to give up so. That you will be.

S14: I’ll carry grips for you on trips you turn flips for you if you will be my. This whole campaign for you must explain for you I’m insane for you. So please be my. Your little Ray. Makes the oh so. Silly. I’ll work and slave for you. Be brave for you. I’ll shave for you so fall in love.

S15: So phonemes vs. Alfons I can give you one more thing that involves terminology words. What’s a word. Linguists find more to talk about Ray that question than you might think. So for example let’s imagine like everything dies dies. Picture that word now if you change the S to a T you get diet. Well those are two words. One of them is dies one of them is diet but they differ because diet is just one thing dies even though it’s spelled with four letters and even though it’s one word dies has two things it has die.

S5: This business of ceasing to exist then has the soot which is the third person singular.

S16: It’s got two things in it or walk both of those are single words walk and then walked.

S17: That’s a single word to but walk just as walking it walked as walk in it but that is what makes it past so it has two two things in it here’s another word one word is dies one is diet one is walk one’s walked Miss applications but Miss applications has a whole bunch of things in it Miss then it’s got apply then it’s got case or Asian then it’s got the sun and so miss apply Asian so it’s got four things in it so it’s not only about words words have things in them and you might want to call the thing a unit of meaning so in dies one unit of meaning is the dying part another unit of meaning is that which makes it third person singular instead of say first person singular or something like that so they’re two units of meaning in dies they’re four units of meaning in Miss applications and they’re two units of meaning in walked as opposed to one unit of meaning in walk unit of meaning as opposed to word is more theme in linguistics so morphemes not just a cute word for word although you almost wish that it were not at all it is a unit of meaning and just like phonemes and Alfons have a certain relationship you can also have Alan Morse and what I mean by that is this Let’s say we’re in Spanish and we’re gonna say I speak I’ll blow okay and then if we’re gonna say I eat go more so the I part a lot of you probably knows the Oh but then let’s say that you’re going to say he or she speaks so blah.

S6: OK but then he or she eats goal met.

S9: So it’s not going Ma unless you want to go subjunctive and Lord forbid we get that. So call me Abla mad but oh and a the on Abla and a on call me they’re really the same thing.

S4: They both make something third person singular it’s just that with verbs that are in the ah class like blah You have an R for that if the verbs are in the E.R. class like go mad then you use the E so they’re really the same thing it’s just that you have to know where to use the on where to use the F just like in Japanese you have to know where to have the sir and where to have the sure and so are an F in the third person singular in Spanish those are Alla morphs there Alla morphs of the same general morphine they’re the same thing that are in different flavors it’s basically like somebody who has a pair of sneakers for every color that they wear alum morphs in English a and and so a pig an elephant we know how to use our a n and we can talk about why some people quote unquote mess it up actually they don’t.

S18: That’s the topic of another podcast but a and and a pig and elephant they’re really the same thing you know a and and have the same meaning they apply in the same places it’s just that you use a before a consonant and and before vowel.

S4: So they are Alla morphs a is a unit of meaning and is a unit of meaning they are the same unit of meaning they take on different forms depending on what’s going on. So we linguists have morphemes that we think about their words. Words are great but words differ in how many morphemes they have. And it’s amazing how many morphemes many languages can shove into a word. So for example one of the languages the Caucasus mountains every language spoken in the Caucasus Mountains is viciously interesting and they’re always worth a look. Georgian is the one that gets in the shop window but they’re all just fascinating. One of them is called Kobani in and Kobani and is this monstrously complex wonder of a language and very few people have ever had to learn as a second language and so it has become as broke as human language can be. And if you want to say he gave it to me it’s all one word he gave it to me.

S19: It comes out as it tough. So that’s how it is. He gave it to me is easy tough. Now all of that has nine morphemes in it. I could take it apart bit by bit but frankly that would get a little abstract but there’s so many things in it like the beginning that I’m going to try that again. That means that you have a stake in this.

S13: Like if you say he gave it to me probably you’re saying it for a reason. Well in this language if you’re saying it for a reason then you have to indicate it with the.

S19: That’s what that little bit means. And so nine morphemes in just that one ze touch all of that has nine morphemes and that means that you want English to catch up with something like that. So you can hear somebody walking down the street and saying Gee yeah. Meaning did you eat yet.

S6: And so it’s like gee Yeah well the g you could hear that as sloppy. But I listened to somebody saying yes. And I think well that’s great because Jeet is this one little word that has three morphemes in it. Did you eat.

S20: Did you and eat are all units of meaning you as a unit meaning eat as a unit of meaning did puts it in the past. That’s meaningful to unit meaning. So G three morphemes all in one that gets us a little closer to a Z.

S5: And anything that gets us closer to that is joy for me anyway in terms of units in sequence and really just because I want to start slipping in any song that I like into this series as time goes on. Listen to how this song starts and then just try not to move in a very comfortable way just just listen. Almost.

S21: That is very very very good pop writing. It’s not Brahms but it is a very good job in the studio. That’s minute by minute by the Doobie Brothers and I used to play this a lot when I was in college with my friends and you know it was a another time.

S4: And you know your music playing equipment wasn’t as fidelity to sound as it became once roughly C.D. came in and I remember for a good long time I thought it was boop by UPI you by you and I thought that was an artful setting of gibberish to good music. I thought it was kind of like to do Dada by the police but then I got to see and realized it was minute by minute which I guess is better than boop by you by you. One more thing. Crazy world order. You’re dealing with a new language and the word order isn’t like English is and you get uncomfortable. Well one thing that can throw you for example is that many languages instead of having subject verb object.

S9: So Bill kicked the ball instead of that you have subject object verb.

S6: So Bill the ball kicked subject object verb. We call that SLV and we call it that because s o and V are the initials for subject object and verb. Many languages are SLV. Now when you learn Japanese you’re dealing with S.O. Venus and you get something like you’re trying to say John Ball Melissa’s book in Tokyo.

S9: And the way you have to put it is John Tokyo in Melissa. Of book bought. So Melissa’s book is Melissa. Of book and you say John Tokyo in Melissa.

S4: Of book bought and you think that’s just crazy word. No actually not at all. If you’re a linguist something like that comes out in the wash. It’s quite predictable. And that’s because we know about ahead order. What is ahead order. Well head or is that languages are different in terms of whether they put the real juice maker of a part of a sentence first or last.

S9: So Bill kicked the ball kick the ball. You’re talking about kicking the ball. What’s the juice.

S4: It’s the kicking. And in English we are head first the head is the verb and we say kick the ball. But in a head final language the juice goes last. And you know to each his own diversity.

S9: So Bill the ball kicked in. Good things come last. Something like that bill the ball kicked. Well that business of what’s the head applies to all sorts of things. And so for example if you’ve got a preposition followed by something kind of like in the house. Well what’s got the juice you might be thinking about the house but really that little thing is all about situating things. And so the preposition that’s got the juice. And so in English we say in Tokyo the head comes first in a head final language though that preposition is going to come last. And so you’re going to say Tokyo in and of course you can’t call it a preposition. So you call it a post position or you split the difference and you call them add positions but you put that thing afterwards because the juice comes later. Or finally something about possessing something. So Melissa’s book. So what’s the juice. Is it Melissa or is it the book. Well it’s all about the book. So in a head first language you’re going to say the book of Melissa. But in a head final language it’s going to be my list of book. So we think like say Spanish speakers John Ball Melissa’s book in Tokyo in Spanish. Juan a liberal Democrat. Yes. In Tokyo John bought the book of Melissa in Tokyo.

S4: That’s because Spanish like English is head initial. It makes perfect sense for those of you who are Jewish. It’s the head of the year the Rosh Hashana. Well the Jews there is the head the Roche and so the head of the year the Rosh Hashanah. That’s because Israeli Hebrew is a good head first language. If you know that the language is head final then nothing is going to scare you about Japanese you know it’s going to go that way and you don’t have any trouble with Turkish or any language you encounter that insists on putting the verb at the end and then you think everything else is so insane.

S13: All of it just falls into place like a magnet grabbing what and whatever it is you know what I mean. So everything just falls into place. Now languages mess these things up. There are always hairs on a plate. So English is head first and Spanish is head first. Spanish has a liberal Bay. MELISSA And so the book of Melissa we can say the book of Melissa. But it sounds like the Bible except I don’t think there are any prophets named Melissa. But we say Melissa’s book we actually do it the Japanese way we say. Melissa of book we’re used to that. Why English does it that way people have almost literally come to blows in conference hotels about that. We’ll get into that later. Except we won’t. But it is a hair out of place but we don’t think that any language is word order is crazy at all. Now what we do know is crazy is Love. Love is bittersweet. And you know what. If you want to have the etymology of sweet and bitter then you have to subscribe to Slate Plus for a nominal fee. You can hear not only extra parts of podcasts like this but you don’t have to listen to me or anybody else do any ads. And with the money that you pay you help support not only my show but that. Of various other people here at Slate doing fascinating podcast so just think about Slate Plus I’m going to talk all about Sweet doesn’t that sound interesting but you can only hear it if you subscribe to Slate Plus.

S22: Now in the meantime I’ll just listen listen back here.

S21: You know a different black man would right now say something along these lines.

S23: Mitt’s on but I don’t know how to say. So just here is Midnight Train to Georgia by Gladys Knight and the Pips. Which is probably the best song ever written except for about 200 others. It’s always been very dear to me. You can reach us at Lexicon Valley at Slate dot com. That’s Lexicon Valley at Slate dot com to listen to past shows and subscribe or just to reach out go to Slate dot com slash Lexicon Valley in your slow cooker what you do is you put the potatoes and the parsnips on the bottom.

S24: Least I do. Then you put the roast on top of it and don’t only add beef broth and some red wine. I highly recommend putting Oh you powder on top of the roast beef. If you put that in there then it’s kind of like a it felt and you’ve got yourself a stew going with it’s not for stew. You will have a lovely autumn meal waiting for you at home you can put some brussel sprouts in there and that way you don’t have to cook when you get home. Mike Rollo is always the editor and I am John. Giving his. Name without him in my. Some. Day. He. Stopped. But he’s. So. Calm. So.

S13: Haven’t you always wondered where the word sweet came from. No but you’re you’re gonna find out because it’s actually kind of interesting it gives a little lesson sweet in English goes all the way back to proto indo european spoken in Ukraine. Gosh I don’t want to talk about that country this week but the word that ended up spawning all sorts of words all over Europe not to mention Iran and India was roughly Suad. That’s how sweet started it was Suad. So one thing that happened to Suad is it became our words sweet but all sorts of things can happen to a Suad. So for example a cell can become a hook over time. You’re kind of going so it moves backward and it becomes a hook.

S4: That’s what happened in Greek and hedonistic is from Greeks version of this thing that began as Suad. And then we borrowed hedonistic and hedonism et cetera from Greek. So we have sweet and hedonistic which believe it or not traced back to the same root. In the meantime maybe a little bit more intuitive pro indo european has Suad.

S13: And then in Latin that becomes through a series of changes Soir they and we borrow that from Latin. And so now we have suave so sweet hedonistic swap and you can think of Swan city as being a kind of sweetness but you wouldn’t have thought of it. It all starts in Ukraine with people who had wheels and really wore their horses out. That’s based on archaeology and they have Suad goes to sweet because the hedonistic goes to swap. And also in Latin Suad Arie that is to persuade somebody that goes back to Suad. The idea being that you make something sweet. Think about it when you persuade somebody of something when you really change your mind then it’s like having a tiny little little orgasm. And so that’s what a sways of and so sweet hedonistic suave sways of persuade.

S5: All of those are the same word I love things like that bitter bitter goes back to Puerto indo european there was a word bad ugly little word bait and that meant to split and you can see how splitting and bitterness would seem to be kind of related but it makes me think of something that everybody should know just because which is that there is another word for split that’s been reconstructed for Proto Indo European. It was okay so gay and various things happened to say one thing that happened to it is an old English it became Skeet ton Skeet ton as Skeet town moved through time it became shit done then shit and then shit shakes except not with that accent that’s how shit started.

S4: And the reason I’m bringing that up is because I had never seen The Shawshank Redemption. It’s one of those movies where whenever you bring it up everybody goes oh I mean there was clearly something about it and I had never seen it. Haven’t seen Top Gun. I don’t think I’m ever going to see Top Gun. Top Gun is one of those but with Shawshank Redemption I could tell there was something about it I might actually connect to you even though the poster always look kind of stupid. So finally last week I watched The Shawshank Redemption and you know what. Oh yeah. That was really good. But at one point somebody used an expression I hadn’t heard in eons. Somebody says if I may I’m gonna go pinch a loaf and it got me thinking that this split word. C.K. that becomes Keats on that become sheet that is because the idea was that to if I may perform that action was to split something and I don’t need to describe any further why you would put it that way but that expression in Georgia I think people always call that judgment in Shawshank got me thinking about that etymology watching you know Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman and thinking about defecation it was a strange thing. But here’s more about this gay scale goes down to Latin and it becomes science because knowledge investigating the world is about dividing things into categories splitting things up. So it’s a different kind of metaphor but that means that science and shit come from the same root.

S5: It’s almost like science could be shit ants in a different universe. These are things that everybody should know you you read Hop on Pop then Little House On The Prairie. Then Harry Potter and then the Twilight books and then you might want to learn about your shins. Thank you very much.