There’s a Weird Similarity Between Chimp Communication And Human Language

Behind this sentence lies a solid bedrock of mathematics, one that has been shown to govern all human languages. Linguists have found the hoots and hollers, gestures and expressions used by chimpanzees obey some of the same basic principles, demonstrating the foundations of language have deep evolutionary roots. A study led by the University of [...]

By |2019-02-14T13:37:16+00:00February 14th, 2019|Language|0 Comments

Did Humans Speak Through Cave Art? Ancient Drawings and Language’s Origins

When and where did humans develop language? To find out, look deep inside caves, suggests an MIT professor. More precisely, some specific features of cave art may provide clues about how our symbolic, multifaceted language capabilities evolved, according to a new paper co-authored by MIT linguist Shigeru Miyagawa. A key to this idea is that [...]

By |2018-12-27T13:38:15+00:00December 27th, 2018|Language|0 Comments

Millennial Aboriginal Australians Have Developed Their Own Language

Millennials, in a way, are a firmly bilingual group, thanks in no small part to “textspeak.” With the rise of Web 2.0 at the turn of 21st century, instant messaging slang and the bevy of acronyms that resulted have become a de facto marker of age, if not cool-factor. Down under, in the remote village [...]

By |2018-10-12T10:04:04+00:00October 12th, 2018|Aboriginal, Australia, Language, Warlpiri|0 Comments

North America’s nearly forgotten language

Even before I saw the water, I heard the rumble. Sounding like a river or a waterfall, the noise was gently muffled by the sword ferns and step moss as it reverberated through the sky-scraping red cedars and Douglas firs. What I was hearing was not a river, and if I’d come along this trail [...]

By |2018-10-03T17:43:23+00:00October 3rd, 2018|Chinook Jargon, Chinook Wawa, Language, North America|0 Comments

Don’t assume language or dialect is locked to a particular place

In an age of globalisation with unprecedented levels of mobility and communication, the world is often described as a “global village”. But this metaphor has implications for how we understand the geographical place around us. There are clearly emotional meanings connected to the concept of place. An expression such as “do you want to come [...]

By |2018-09-12T10:45:08+00:00August 29th, 2018|Dialect, Language|0 Comments

The Mexican art of double entendre

As a Brit living in Mexico, I’ve discovered that many people are intrigued by whether or not I eat spicy food. I once had an entire conversation with a waiter in which he asked me where I was from, what language I spoke, where exactly England was, and finally ended with the question he was [...]

By |2018-08-24T01:14:11+00:00August 24th, 2018|Double entendre, Language, Mexico, Spanish language|0 Comments

Forensic linguistics gives victims and the wrongfully convicted the voices they deserve

"Most people take language for granted, but not you … You and I both appreciate the power and specificity of words." This quote, taken from the recent Netflix series Manhunt: Unabomber, sums up nicely the notion that language is more powerful than many of us are aware of. Words impact how events and those who [...]

By |2018-08-23T13:30:33+00:00August 23rd, 2018|Forensic linguistics, Language|0 Comments

Hidden meanings: Using artificial intelligence to translate ancient texts

The ancient world is full of mystery. Many mysteries, in fact. Many mysteries indeed. Who built the monolithic and megalithic structures found all over the world? Why did they build them? How did they build them? What technology did they use? And perhaps most importantly from the point of view answering all the other questions: [...]

Can language slow down time?

What if the language you spoke caused you to perceive time differently? Does that sound like magic realism? Close: it’s economics. Some recent research papers published in economics journals – notably a 2013 paper by Keith Chen of Yale and a 2018 paper by three Australian economists – have proposed that languages that grammatically distinguish [...]

By |2018-08-06T17:16:16+00:00August 6th, 2018|Language, Linguistics, Time|0 Comments

Can these birds explain how language first evolved?

If you want a no-fuss, no-muss pet, consider the Bengalese finch. Dubbed the society finch for its friendliness, breeders often use it to foster unrelated chicks. But put the piebald songbird next to its wild ancestor, the white-rumped munia, and you can both see and hear the differences: The aggressive munia tends to be darker [...]

By |2018-08-02T16:21:11+00:00August 2nd, 2018|Birds, Evolution, Language|0 Comments