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Articles on Linguistics

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Rhyming means something different in ASL than it does in spoken language. Zed Sevcikova Sehyr

An interactive visual database for American Sign Language reveals how signs are organized in the mind

In American Sign Language, some words rhyme, some look like what they mean and some are used more often than others. A new database of these features paves a pathway for ASL research.
Humans are constantly changing our languages in terms of sounds, words, meanings, and grammar, so much so that it becomes increasingly difficult to understand our own distant relatives across time and space. (Unsplash/Lucrezia Carnelos)

Curious Kids: How are languages formed?

A young reader asks: How are languages formed?
Signs of a fraying relationship can appear in subtle ways. Betsie Van der Meer via Getty Images

Evidence of an impending breakup may exist in everyday conversation – months before either partner realizes their relationship is tanking

Psycholinguistic researchers analyzed more than 1 million Reddit posts a year before and a year after users posted about their breakup.
Communication between people would be very difficult, if not impossible, without discursive memory. Our memories allow us to understand each other or to experience irreconcilable differences. (Shutterstock)

Why some words hurt some people and not others

Because of context and history, some words and phrases carry a heavy burden with them. Their mere mention can bring back painful memories and problematic situations.
Children begin to learn grammar well before they start school, when they craft their first short sentences. RonTech2000/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Why does grammar matter?

Grammar isn’t a way to bully people for making mistakes, says a longtime English instructor. It is a way to understand how our language operates, in all its many written and spoken varieties.

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