Airdate: Fry’s Planet Word
Stephen Fry looks at language, storytelling, origins and history, blogging, profanity, slang and identity.
The title sounds a little like something out of Futurama, but it’s actually Stephen Fry, returning in a new series on ABC1.
In this 5 episode series, the Qi host looks at language, how it works, storytelling, language origins and history, blogging and tweeting, profanity, slang and identity.
Language is what defines humans from other species, and with our planet home to around 7,000 different languages, words have played a crucial role in our evolution. Renowned wordsmith and host of this series, Stephen Fry, is the perfect guide for this fascinating exploration of language in all its forms: from cutting edge linguistic research to the glories of world literature. The series travels the globe as Fry takes viewers on a journey through the thousands of years since man first mastered speech to the cyber world of today with its HTML, codes and texting. Revealing how language is used, abused and continues to evolve, Fry’s Planet Word looks at whether we are any closer to understanding the most complex activity of the human brain.
In this first episode Stephen seeks to uncover the origins of human language and how and why we are the only species on the planet to have this gift.
From attempts to teach chimps to speak and mice that have been given the human ‘language gene’, FOXP2, Stephen uncovers to what extent our brain is uniquely hard-wired for language.
The series also finds out how a child acquires language, and learns the reason why sign language is a true language.
Meanwhile Stephen takes part in a Klingon version of Hamlet which prompts the question ‘why have we created the 6000 plus languages which exist on the planet?’
9:30pm Sunday, 11 March ABC1.