Why the language-ready brain is so complex

The capacity for language is distinctly human. It allows us to communicate, learn things, create culture, and think better. Because of its complexity, scientists have long struggled to understand the neurobiology of language. In the classical view, there are two major language areas in the left half of our brain. Broca's area (in the frontal [...]

By |2019-10-04T12:19:47+00:00October 4th, 2019|Brain, Language, Neurobiology|0 Comments

Mumbai’s many tongues and linguistic swagger

It is possible to speak any language peppered with some broken English or Hindi-like words to get one’s way around in Mumbai. It is possible to live, work and play here without knowing Marathi, the language spoken by the largest number of Mumbaiites. Some would call it the mother language of the city. It is [...]

By |2019-09-21T19:13:50+00:00September 21st, 2019|Language, Mumbai|0 Comments

Why We Love to Learn Klingon: The Art of Constructed Languages

In 1996, linguist D’Armond Speers became notorious for attempting to raise his baby son Alec as the world’s first native speaker of Klingon, an invented language from the Star Trek universe. Speers eventually abandoned the experiment when his son showed a marked reluctance, at the tender age of five, to use the language, but that [...]

By |2019-09-14T11:20:49+00:00September 14th, 2019|Conlang, Constructed languages, Klingon language, Language|0 Comments

Want to build a language from scratch? Start with the question who will speak it, and why

It’s well known that JRR Tolkien wrote the Lord of the Rings cycle to create people to speak the languages he had invented. But, in the television age, artificially created or invented languages – we call them conlangs – have been gaining increasing attention with the popularity of television series such as Star Trek and [...]

By |2019-09-13T20:08:20+00:00September 13th, 2019|Conlang, Constructed languages, Language|0 Comments

Machines Might Not Mind Your Accent Anymore

For speech recognition systems, a change in the accent can be confusing. Words under the influence of local languages sound different and a typical homepod device can mistake an Asian speaking English or even something as native as a thick Irish accent. Deep Learning algorithms are the work horses behind these devices. The training data [...]

By |2019-09-12T13:35:27+00:00September 12th, 2019|Accent, Language, Machine learning|0 Comments

How the limits of the mind shape human language

When we speak, our sentences emerge as a flowing stream of sound. Unless we are really annoyed, We. Don’t. Speak. One. Word. At. A. Time. But this property of speech is not how language itself is organised. Sentences consist of words: discrete units of meaning and linguistic form that we can combine in myriad ways [...]

By |2019-09-02T16:04:14+00:00September 2nd, 2019|Language, Linguistics|0 Comments

Speaking in Tongues: From Elvish to Dothraki, the rise of invented languages

In the language spoken by the Dothraki on the violent and popular HBO show Game of Thrones, the word for cat is keli. Reasonable, you might think. The show is based on the books written by George R.R. Martin, surely he can come up with whatever words he likes for the animals living in a [...]

By |2019-08-25T18:06:35+00:00August 25th, 2019|Conlang, Constructed languages, Language|0 Comments

Meet The Startup Revolutionizing The Language Of Biology

London-based software platform Synthace is on a mission not just to digitize the lab, but to revolutionize the way biology is done with one simple idea: a universal language. Consider the automotive industry and its suite of tools that take an initial idea through to simulation, build and testing. After Autodesk was formed in 1982, [...]

By |2019-07-29T12:57:17+00:00July 18th, 2019|Biology, Language|0 Comments

Machine learning has been used to automatically translate long-lost languages

In 1886, the British archaeologist Arthur Evans came across an ancient stone bearing a curious set of inscriptions in an unknown language. The stone came from the Mediterranean island of Crete, and Evans immediately traveled there to hunt for more evidence. He quickly found numerous stones and tablets bearing similar scripts and dated them from [...]

By |2019-07-01T15:18:53+00:00July 1st, 2019|Language, Machine learning, Translation|0 Comments

Iceland is inventing a new vocabulary for a high-tech future

Every morning, Iceland’s language planners begin their day by taking off their shoes at the communal shoe rack in their office and slipping into pairs of soft clogs. As tourists begin to fill the alleyways of downtown Reykjavik with a faint babble of English, French, Chinese, and Italian, the language planners shuffle quietly back into [...]

By |2019-06-02T14:42:19+00:00June 2nd, 2019|Iceland, Language|0 Comments