Nonsense Words, Meaningful Structure

One of the extraordinary things about language is how we can at some level understand familiar forms and grammar even when we don’t know the meaning of words (Anyone who has traveled abroad to a country whose language they didn’t speak may resonate with this).

As a remarkable, clever, and very funny illustration of this phenomenon, watch this brilliant bit by Eric Idle on Rutland Weekend Television.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

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