Researchers Name Language After Colbert

It turns out bilingual people are good at learning fake tongues
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2012 12:00 PM CDT
Researchers Name Language After Colbert
Honoree Stephen Colbert from Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," attends the 71st Annual Peabody Awards in New York, Monday, May 21, 2012.   (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

(Newser) – America's favorite fake pundit now has his own fake language. Northwestern University researchers wanted to study whether or not knowing multiple languages helped you learn a completely unrelated one, so they made one up, dubbing it "Colbertian," NBC Chicago reports. "We had to invent a new language to do our research, and no one invents words as readily as Stephen Colbert," one professor explained, "Naming our new language after Colbert was a no-brainer."

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Colbertian uses some phrases invented by Colbert, but many others are just made up, like "shundoe" (acorn) or "glolay" (apple). Each of the 24 participants were taught 24 Colbertian words, then asked to match the words with images. Half the subjects were already bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish, and they proved more adept at Colbertian too, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. "They switch between languages their whole lives," one co-author explains. It's the latest academic nod to Colbert, who is apparently the ivory tower's favorite satirist. (Read more Stephen Colbert stories.)

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