Is One English Better Than Others? And What is Proper English?

28/11/2017

Much emphasis is placed on using proper English in schools. But who decides what is the proper one and which one is not?  More on this topic in The importance of proper and improper English at https://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21730851-what-not-speaking-proper-english-teaches-you-about-languageand-about-life-importance?frsc=dg%7Ce

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What Do Emmojis Have to do With Creating a World Alphabet?

26/11/2017

Read: How the Appetite for
Emojis Complicates the
Effort to Standardize
the World’s Alphabets

at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/18/magazine/how-the-appetite-for-emojis-complicates-the-effort-to-standardize-the-worlds-alphabets.html

An intriguing story.  Excerpt:

Creating such interconnectedness and expanding the linguistic powers of technology users around the world is the whole point of Unicode. If the work is slow, that’s because standardizing a writing system for computers is a delicate art that relies on both engineering and diplomacy. And the time and attention of the volunteers who maintain the standard are finite. So what happens when a new system of visual communication like emoji emerges and comes under their purview? Things get even slower and the mission more complicated.


Linguistic Corner Video: Half of All Languages Come From This One Root Tongue. Here’s How it Conquered the Earth

23/11/2017

Access at http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/watch-how-indo-european-languages-conquered-earth-180955578/#CY4yiJq45aXRAieC.99


No Surprise! Machines may never master the distinctly human elements of language

22/11/2017

All of us in the field of linguistics know this already. Read more in https://qz.com/826989/ai-may-never-master-the-distinctly-human-elements-of-language/?utm_content=bufferc0a70&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Excerpt:

In its 100 Year Study of AI, a Stanford University panel assessed the future of machine intelligence, writing that while recent developments in natural language processing, knowledge representation and reasoning have been impressive, “the portrayals of artificial intelligence that dominate films and novels, and shape the popular imagination, are fictional…there is no race of superhuman robots on the horizon or probably even possible.”

For now, it seems, true intelligence, with language at its core, remains the domain of creative humans with fantastical imaginations and an appreciation of style.


US culture & Linguistic News: New York Transit Agency Drops ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ for Gender-neutral Terms

21/11/2017

The sign of our times: gender-neutral language. Read more here at https://www.nostraightnews.com/new-york-transit-agency-drops-ladies-gentlemen-gender-neutral-terms/


Linguistics Corner: Written Languages All Over The World

21/11/2017

Screenshot 2017-11-17 14.19.35.png

Excerpt of a researcher in my birth city (excerpt):

Florian Coulmas, a linguist at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany, agrees that an evolutionary framework doesn’t work well for written language, but says there’s another, simpler explanation: Once a script is introduced, people tend to follow it diligently to avoid confusion—a concept known as path dependence. “Historically speaking, in writing … once you set down a path, you go down that path without much change,” Coulmas says.

More in Why written languages look alike the world over at http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/11/why-written-languages-look-alike-world-over


Linguistic Corner: A mother uses a similar tone with babies, no matter the language

21/11/2017

Excerpt of the research study:

Tessier agreed that this research clearly indicates that our brain is tuned to discerning language, even from an early age: “Babies are really focused on attending to speech around them, and noticing and storing patterns and distributions in that speech.”

While the researchers intend to continue exploring this newfound phenomenon, Piazza thinks the find might prove useful for educational purposes. She envisions “having virtual teachers or cartoon characters imitate infant-directed timbre to optimally engage with babies.”

“Our work also invites future explorations of how speakers adjust their timbre to accommodate a wide variety of audiences, such as superiors, political constituents, students, and romantic partners,” Piazza said.

Find videos, audio recordings, etc. at  https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/mother-uses-similar-tone-babies-no-matter-language


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