What does it mean to know a language? Knowing a language is a continuum. On one end, there’s explicit knowledge – knowing what words and phrases mean and using the language to communicate and talk to one another. On the other end, there’s implicit knowledge, which is typically where children begin and involves understanding what words look and sound like in a language. An example of this is when we recognize a word as “English,” but have no idea what it means.
Dr. Simon Todd, assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics at UC Santa Barbara, talks about what you can learn simply by listening. His research focuses on the incredible power of passive listening for developing and accessing knowledge about language varieties and the people that speak them.