Innovations in AI seem to be spurring interest in what is or isn’t real, accurate and human.
The meanings we carry around in our heads seem so natural and inborn that we fail to realise other people can have quite different understandings.
Most people can draw from tens of thousands of words in their memory within milliseconds. Studying this process can improve language disorder treatment and appreciation of the gift of communication.
Accents are not inherently easy or difficult to comprehend. Rather, the lack of exposure people have to a variety of accents causes communication difficulties.
Young Latinos in the US often navigate a contradictory landscape: Their parents see them as not Latino enough, while teachers and peers view them as not American enough.
Accents are constantly changing.
Gendered words can be offensive in certain contexts – it’s all in what’s being signaled, according to a sociolinguist
An irresistible history of the OED reveals that English is a global language in its sources, its reach and its ownership.
Corpus linguistics – using computers to analyse texts – can spot patterns and nuances that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Language, geography, age and other factors can all affect how fast a person talks. But sometimes, these perceived differences are only in the listener’s head.
Long treated as a sign of anxiety or a delaying tactic, ‘filled pauses’ are a linguistic trick to signal that what you are about to say might be complicated.
The idea a language should grow simpler if people need to learn it as adults has an intuitive appeal. But an analysis of more than 1,200 languages shows this doesn’t quite stack up.
Bilinguals may struggle with hangman but they excel at remembering and categorising objects.
How politicians have cynically used metaphor to imply meaning through language.
The word shows that language isn’t static, it evolves to reflect developments in a society.
Jumping in too quickly with ‘Oh yes, that happened to me’ can end up saturating conversation and make your friend feel they were never heard in the first place.
People with a common history – often due to significant geographic or social barriers – often share genetics and language. New research finds that even a dialect can act as a barrier within a group.
Similar techniques used to identify criminals have been employed to unmask anonymous authors. But they aren’t foolproof.
We humans like to think that our language is original, but we absorb large amounts of it from others and liberally repeat and remix what we hear – just as language AIs do.
It came about through sustained contact with native Spanish speakers who directly translated phrases from Spanish into English, a form of linguistic borrowing called ‘calques.’