Language can sometimes feel like a mystery. How often have you heard a new word, in whatever tongue you speak, and thought - "How did that get to mean that thing?"

I mean who decided an elephant would be called an elephant?! That is the burning question in this episode of Mothertongues.

You're not on your own. Children, in every school we visited for this series of Mothertongues had their own questions. So we thought, why not let them ask an expert?

This is a three-part mini-series of Mothertongues starting with episode one up top...

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Rose Bridle is a student and teacher of linguistics, currently completing a PHD at Maynooth University in west African pidgin and creole languages. At the moment, specifically Cameroon pidgin English and the extent to which these changes are influenced by the indigenous African languages spoken in the area. And she agreed to take on the challenge!

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

The complexity of the languages we speak is endlessly fascinating. Did you know that there are more than 7000 languages spoken in the world today? That some older languages are spoken by so few people that they are in danger of disappearing? That Mandarin Chinese is spoken by over 1.3 Billion people across the planet. And (appropriate as this is Mothertongues) that more than half of the world's population is bilingual?

From the mixing of languages, to the first words we speak. From the first words humans ever used to the new ones we keep developing. There were so many questions we’ve had to split up the episodes and today is just part one.

Click here to listen to all the podcasts!

If your family, or your school would like to share ways in which you make language a part of your day, why not get in touch? Email junior@rte.ie.

Full details on how to take part are HERE!

Thanks so much to all the families who have taken part so far and to everyone at mothertongues.ie for helping connect the dots. They do amazing work and this is only a small addition to the help they give multilingual families across the country.