In an hour-long edition of its Radiolab show, New York public radio station WNYC explores the power of words to create meaning (and what it means to be without them).

On the show, the presenters talk to a woman who taught a 27-year-old man the first words of his life. They hear a firsthand account of what it feels like to have the language centre of your brain wiped out by a stroke. And they look at the story of a group of children who invented an entirely new language in Nicaragua during the 1970s.

Words, a film by WNYC

There’s also a fabulous film to accompany the show, which we’ve embedded above. In it, filmmakers Will Hoffman and Daniel Mercadante bandy visual wordplay into a moving exploration of language set to an original score by Keith Kenniff.

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