Tag Archives: linguistics

Weird Languages

24 Aug

South Korean students always complained that English grammar and vocabulary is riddled with annoying inconsistencies. it’s not freakishly weird, but still comes in at #33 (via The Daily Dish).

A recent study by a language-processing company called Idibon tried to establish not which languages are “hard”, but which are “weird”. It used a resource called the World Atlas of Linguistic Structures (WALS). WALS indexes hundreds of languages across hundreds of different features (from whether verbs precede objects to whether the language uses click-sounds as consonants). The Idibon study tried to find which languages use the greatest number of unusual features—ie, those features shared with few other languages. But for tricky methodological reasons, the study had to limit itself 21 features. The languages that have the least “normal” values of these 21 features are the “weirdest”.

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Do Babies Judge By Voices Or Faces?

9 Jun

mouth_translationThis is an important issue, when infants are increasingly maturing in multilingual environments, and parents are making decisions on education based on theories about human social reasoning. According to Katherine Kinzler, kids like to hear someone speaking in their native languages, and not foreign languages.

This could be useful to know for educators seeking to immerse babies in foreign languages.

 

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Taiwan, Origin of the Austronesian Language

28 Jan

Three scholars in New Zealand have confirmed, that the homeland of the Austronesian language group is Taiwan, an argument Jared Diamond supported in Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies.

Hmmm….how many nodes of human language does Beijing really need to control?

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