"Wait, wait, don't orca me"

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Yesterday's edition of the comedy radio news quiz "Wait, wait, don't tell me" featured some discussion of the Talking Orcas story that Geoff Pullum discussed a few days ago in "Orca emits speech-like sound; reporters go insane", 1/31/2018. The whole discussion is worth a listen:

Peter Sagal's closing remark is especially good:


  1. Laura Morland said,

    February 4, 2018 @ 10:56 am

    When listening to my favorite radio show yesterday, I heard this "news item" and naturally immediately thought of Language Log.

    I was worried for a moment that they had been taken in, but I should have known to count on the great Peter Sagal & Co. to see (or in this case, listen) through the hype.

    Thanks for the sound clips!

  2. Mark Meckes said,

    February 4, 2018 @ 11:04 am

    Makes me wonder whether the journalists Pullum complained about the other day actually listened to the recording or just read a press release.

  3. Rubrick said,

    February 4, 2018 @ 7:16 pm

    I firmly believe no one in the world is better at their job than Peter Sagal.

  4. Brett said,

    February 4, 2018 @ 8:45 pm

    The show has been known to be (or appear to be) rather credulous regarding science stories from the popular press. When Paula Poundstone is on, she usually takes the lead in skewering the reported results. It's interesting that, in this instance, she had already heard the story, and she seemed to expect that the news was going to be treated with the lack of seriousness it deserved.

  5. Andrew (not the same one) said,

    February 5, 2018 @ 8:11 am

    They don't even consider the idea, which some people seem to be promoting, that the whales can talk – i.e. use language to say things. They report the claim that the whales can mimic human speech., and then demonstrate that it's not very good mimicry.

  6. richardelguru said,

    February 5, 2018 @ 8:28 am

    The BBC's News Quiz (podcasted as Friday Night Comedy) also dealt with the topic. Including mention of 'that dog that says "snausages"' having got there first and the alarming thought that if we teach them English they will eventually realise that we call them 'Killer Whales'.

    btw the program is usually guffaw-worthy.

  7. cervantes said,

    February 5, 2018 @ 1:51 pm

    I'll just give you the punch line, I'm sure you'll know the joke:

    Maybe I should have said DiMaggio.

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