How does being bilingual affect your brain? It depends on how you use language

Depending on what you read, speaking more than one language may or may not make you smarter. These mixed messages are understandably confusing, and they’re due to the fact that nothing is quite as simple as it’s typically portrayed when it comes to neuroscience. We can’t give a simple “yes” or “no” to the question [...]

By |2020-10-08T12:16:15+00:00October 8th, 2020|Bilingual, Bilingualism, Language|0 Comments

Subtle Ways Your Language Shapes the Way You Think

You spend almost all of your waking hours—and even some of your non-waking hours—using language. Even when you’re not talking with other people, you’re still running a monologue in your head much of the time. And you also frequently use language when you dream. Given the degree to which you use language not only for [...]

By |2020-10-01T12:43:01+00:00October 1st, 2020|Language, Psychology|0 Comments

A language generation program’s ability to write articles, produce code and compose poetry has wowed scientists

Seven years ago, my student and I at Penn State built a bot to write a Wikipedia article on Bengali Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore's play "Chitra." First it culled information about "Chitra" from the internet. Then it looked at existing Wikipedia entries to learn the structure for a standard Wikipedia article. Finally, it summarized the [...]

By |2020-09-26T12:19:52+00:00September 24th, 2020|A.I., Artificial intelligence, Language, Technology|0 Comments

Norway has been bilingual since the Middle Ages

The fact that Norwegians wrote with runes in the Viking Age and Middle Ages is well known. But how did it go when alphabetic writing arrived and we switched from runes to the letters we know today? New research on inscriptions with letters shows that the transition was far slower than many believe. “We find [...]

By |2020-09-09T12:58:49+00:00September 9th, 2020|Bilingual, Language, Latin language, Norway, Runes|0 Comments

Viking Runes: The Historic Writing Systems of Northern Europe

Viking runes were not for everyday use. The Northmen's history was told orally, and runes used only to record moments of great importance. Let's dive deep into the fascinating world of the Viking alphabet. We’ve talked before about the many remaining runestones of Scandinavia. These magnificent monoliths with intricate imagery litter the landscape of Scandinavia. [...]

By |2020-09-03T21:33:58+00:00September 3rd, 2020|Language, Northern Europe, Norway, Runes|0 Comments

Machine learning reveals role of culture in shaping meanings of words

What do we mean by the word beautiful? It depends not only on whom you ask, but in what language you ask them. According to a machine learning analysis of dozens of languages conducted at Princeton University, the meaning of words does not necessarily refer to an intrinsic, essential constant. Instead, it is significantly shaped [...]

By |2020-08-20T21:36:56+00:00August 20th, 2020|Language, Machine learning, Technology|0 Comments

How AI systems use Mad Libs to teach themselves grammar

Imagine you're training a computer with a solid vocabulary and a basic knowledge about parts of speech. How would it understand this sentence: "The chef who ran to the store was out of food." Did the chef run out of food? Did the store? Did the chef run the store that ran out of food? [...]

By |2020-07-28T11:11:16+00:00July 28th, 2020|A.I., Artificial intelligence, Grammar, Language|0 Comments

Animals That Can Do Math Understand More Language Than We Think

It is often thought that humans are different from other animals in some fundamental way that makes us unique, or even more advanced than other species. These claims of human superiority are sometimes used to justify the ways we treat other animals, in the home, the lab or the factory farm. So, what is it [...]

By |2020-07-24T21:58:11+00:00July 24th, 2020|Animals, Language|0 Comments

The English Word That Hasn’t Changed in Sound or Meaning in 8,000 Years

One of my favorite words is lox,” says Gregory Guy, a professor of linguistics at New York University. There is hardly a more quintessential New York food than a lox bagel—a century-old popular appetizing store, Russ & Daughters, calls it “The Classic.” But Guy, who has lived in the city for the past 17 years, [...]

By |2020-07-16T13:18:15+00:00July 16th, 2020|Language, Lox|0 Comments

Quarantinis and covidiots: How language has changed during the pandemic

There's no social distancing from the fact COVID-19 has changed the way we speak and communicate. University of Saskatchewan linguistics professor Veronika Makarova said new terms and phrases have made their way into language as a result of the pandemic. "Every time there is something new happening in our lives, the language reflects that," Makarova [...]

By |2020-07-15T11:36:14+00:00July 15th, 2020|COVID-19, Language|0 Comments