Language

Category archives for Language

I am looking at the question: How many words are there in a language? I’d like to know for languages in general, comparatively, and for pedagogical reasons, in some well known western language which may as well be English. What I found quite incidentally is a hornets nest of curmudgeonistic pedanticmaniacal jibberishosity. (There. Whatever the…

Effect Measure has an interesting take-down of a post on The Global Language Monitor (GLM), which brings up an interesting point or two. The GLM is a very strange site which has, as Revere points out, declared itself to be an important go-to place to find out about language trends across the world. I have…

Don’t worry, it is not as bad as it sounds, but it is somewhat contagious.

Did you ever notice how some verbal expressions have an extra meaning for you, just you, because of history? In reflecting on this, it is impossible to not consider such lofty topics as memes, cultural transmission, and … well, meaning. A particular expression might invoke a memory of an event, or of a person who…

Knowing More Languages = Good

American politicians, some parents, and a few others have previously expressed the concern that learning more than one language muddles the mind. This is, of course, absurd, and it is hard to believe why anyone really thought this. In fact, it could be said that having more than one language under your belt makes it…

Framing the Language Gene: FOXP2

You can now read the Krause et al (2007) paper from Current Biology regarding the FOXP2 variant found in Neanderthals in an open-access on-line form at Current Biology Online. Here is the summary of the article: Although many animals communicate vocally, no extant creature rivals modern humans in language ability. Therefore, knowing when and under…

Dr. Isis the Scientist at On Becoming a Domestic and Laboratory Goddess, has written an open letter to our sister, Zuska, regarding (in part) the exchanges between my Sbling and myself. Dr. Isis points out that she has had a long term academic interests in breasts, which is primarily political and pragmatic as it turns…

The Magpie in the Mirror

A typical adult human recognizes that the image one sees in a mirror is oneself. We do not know how much training a mirror-naive adult requires to do this, but we think very little. When a typical adult macaque (a species of monkey) looks in the mirror, it sees another monkey. Typical adult male macaques…

A Portrait of The Brain by Adam Zeman

Published by Yale University Press A Portrait of the Brain by Adam Zeman is a new book describing how the brain works (and does not work) in something of an Oliver Sack’s experiential manner, but with a twist. Zeman is a Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Nerology at the Pininsula Medical School. A Portrait of…

Evolution: The Mind’s Big Bang

Evolution: The Mind’s Big Bang I’ve known Shea for years … since before grad school. Going out drinking with this guy was a little dangerous. Almost as dangerous as going out drinking with me.