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

Languages will change significantly on interstellar flights

It's a captivating idea: build an interstellar ark, fill it with people, flora, and fauna of every kind, and set your course for a distant star. The concept is not only science fiction gold, it's been the subject of many scientific studies and proposals. By building a ship that can accommodate multiple generations of human [...]

By |2020-07-12T15:27:56+00:00July 12th, 2020|Language, Science, Space exploration, Space travel|0 Comments

Central Europe’s Most Mysterious Language

Located between Bielsko-Biała and Oświęcim, Wilamowice may seem like a regular southern Polish town lost somewhere in the hilly landscape of the Lesser Poland region. Yet to some, Wilamowice may be the most fascinating place on the map of Europe – the linguistic map of Europe, that is. All of this is because of a [...]

By |2020-07-07T10:25:53+00:00July 7th, 2020|Central Europe, Language, Poland, Wymysiöeryś|0 Comments

Why Some Words May Be More Memorable Than Others

Thousands of words, big and small, are crammed inside our memory banks just waiting to be swiftly withdrawn and strung into sentences. In a recent study of epilepsy patients and healthy volunteers, National Institutes of Health researchers found that our brains may withdraw some common words, like “pig,” “tank,” and “door,” much more often than [...]

By |2020-08-09T11:47:29+00:00July 6th, 2020|Language, Words|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 |2020-05-29T10:39:57+00:00May 29th, 2020|Animal communication, Animals, Language|0 Comments

In Milpa Alta, people still speak the Aztec language

In the 1970s, before workers laid the asphalt that became a two-lane highway connecting Mexico City with Milpa Alta, the southernmost of the city’s 16 delegations, Javier Galicia-Silva’s grandmother would hike down the hills to Xochimilco each day at 04:00. From here she would take a chalupa (a large water taxi) along the ancient canals [...]

By |2020-05-06T11:45:05+00:00May 6th, 2020|Language, Mexico, Nahuatl language|0 Comments

How Did Human Language Evolve? Scientists Still Don’t Know

Humans have language and other animals don’t. That’s obvious, but how it happened is not. Since Darwin’s time, scientists have puzzled over the evolution of language. They can observe the present-day product: People today have the capacity for language, whether it be spoken, signed or written. And they can infer the starting state: The communication [...]

By |2020-05-02T19:23:46+00:00May 2nd, 2020|Language|0 Comments