“Human Language Series 4: Variety,” by Gene Searchinger, Linguistic Society of America Video Archive
This short clip presents a fascinating study in some of the universal features of human language, through the case of the Warlpiri
language, which is spoken by about 3000 people in Australia's Northern Territory. The language's Wikipedia page adds this tidbit, not mentioned in the video: "In Warlpiri culture, it is considered impolite or shameful for certain family relations to converse. (For example, a woman should not converse with her son-in-law.) If such conversation is necessary, the speakers use a special register of the Warlpiri language called the avoidance register
. The avoidance register has the same grammar as ordinary Warlpiri, but a drastically reduced lexicon; most content words are replaced either by a generic synonym or by a word unique to the avoidance register."