Tag Archives | Language

Program Uses Algorithms To Tweet As You After Your Death

If social media is what you did while alive, does this mean you are living forever? CNET News on the app Liveson, which continues to generate tweets based on your personality and syntax, in a sense preserving you into eternity:

You might think your online fans will lose interest when you kick the bucket, but an upcoming app says it will let you keep tweeting from beyond the grave.

LivesOn will host Twitter accounts that continue to post updates when users [die]. Developers claim the app’s artificial-intelligence engine will analyze your Twitter feed, learn your likes and syntax, and then post tweets in a similar vein when you’re gone. You’ll become an AI construct, a proverbial ghost in the machine.

The app will launch in March. People who sign up will be asked to appoint an executor who will have control of the account.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Ancient Whistling Language Still Spoken On Spanish Island

The BBC reports on an almost-musical language:

On a Spanish island, an ancient whistling language that once seemed to be dying out is now undergoing a revival. Silbo gomero or Gomeran whistle is an ancient language the locals have assured me is still in use.

This method of communication, in which the Spanish language is replaced by two whistled vowels and four consonants, has a peculiarity perfectly suited to this landscape of deep valleys and steep ravines. It has the ability to travel up to two miles, much further and with less effort than shouting.

It is known that when the first European settlers arrived at La Gomera in the 15th Century, the inhabitants of the island – of North African origin – communicated with whistles. The arrival of the Spanish, the locals adapted the whistling language to Spanish. So the most likely theory is that the whistle came with the settlers from Africa, where there are records of other whistled languages.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

British Man Wakes Up From Coma Speaking New Language

Ever feel as if you might accomplish far more in a deep, dreamless sleep than awake and walking around? The Telegraph reports:

Alun Morgan, 81, was evacuated to Wales during the Second World War but left 70 years ago. During his time there he was surrounded by Welsh speakers but never learned the language himself. He left the country aged 10 and lived his life in England and recently suffered a severe stroke.

But when Mr Morgan regained consciousness three weeks later, doctors discovered he was speaking Welsh and could not remember any English. It is thought that the Welsh Mr Morgan heard as a boy had sunk in without him knowing and was unlocked after he suffered the stroke. Mr Morgan is now being taught to speak English again.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Whatever, Still Most Annoying Word, You Know. Like, Seriously? Just Sayin’

We all know people who can’t stop themselves using the word “like” in virtually every sentence. It’s a word virus and not going away anytime soon per Marist Poll:

It’s that time of the year, again! It’s time for The Marist Poll to reveal the word or phrase considered to be the most annoying in casual conversation. And, for the third consecutive year, “whatever” receives the dubious honor.

Nearly four in ten adults nationally — 38% — say “whatever” grates on their nerves the most. “Like” one in five — 20% — say that verbal filler is the most irritating while 19% despise “you know.” “Just sayin’” gets on the nerves of 11% of the population compared with 7% who report “seriously” should be banned from casual conversation. Five percent are unsure.

Last year, 39% told the Marist Poll “whatever” is the most bothersome word in casual conversation while 28% thought “like” was the epitome of irritating.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Internet English Is Blur

Photo: chrislb (CC)

Grammar police, start your engines. The Internet is corrupting the English language at an alarming rate per this report from the BBC News Magazine:

Online, English has become a common language for users from around the world. In the process, the language itself is changing…

There are now thought to be some 4.5 billion web pages worldwide. And with half the population of China now on line, most of them are written in Chinese.

Still, some linguists predict that within 10 years English will dominate the internet – but in forms very different to what we accept and recognise as English today.

That’s because people who speak English as a second language already outnumber native speakers. And increasingly they use it to communicate with other non-native speakers, particularly on the internet where less attention is paid to grammar and spelling and users don’t have to worry about their accent.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Engraved Stone Discovered in China May Suggest Complex Language Existed 30,000 Years Ago

Picture: "The Tower of Babel" by Bruegel the Elder (PD)

An artifact unearthed in north China may suggest that complex language systems may have existed in the area as early as 30,000 years ago. The item is a stone engraved with a series of lines deliberately carved by human hands. Dr. Fei Peng, a postgraduate research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Sciences had this to say concerning the stone, as well as an ostrich egg bead also discovered at the site:

Via Sci-News:

“Furthermore, creation of such an engraved object may indicate the possible existence of complex communicative systems such as language,” he said.

“In addition to the engraved stone artifact, one ostrich egg bead was unearthed from Locality 1. The lithic assemblage of this locality includes blade production and elongated tool blanks. The blade technology was probably introduced from the Altai region of Russian Siberia, according to comparison between lithic assemblages.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Linguist Says Tapes Reveal Bigfoot Speaking

In the early 1970s, a group of hunters in the Sierra-Nevada Mountains captured sounds of an alleged encounter with Bigfoot. Now a professor and former Navy crypto-linguist says he has analyzed the strange audio recordings, and claims that they not only are legitimate, but reveal a primitive, grunt-based language. Decide for yourself — either way, the Sasquatch sounds on the tape are disturbing:

Continue Reading

Decoding The World’s Oldest Undeciphered Writing

Photo: Marie-Lan Nguyen (CC)

Can you read proto-Elamite? Soon, maybe you can, explains Sean Coughlan for BBC News:

The world’s oldest undeciphered writing system, which has so far defied attempts to uncover its 5,000-year-old secrets, could be about to be decoded by Oxford University academics.

This international research project is already casting light on a lost bronze age middle eastern society where enslaved workers lived on rations close to the starvation level.

“I think we are finally on the point of making a breakthrough,” says Jacob Dahl, fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford and director of the Ancient World Research Cluster.

Dr Dahl’s secret weapon is being able to see this writing more clearly than ever before.

In a room high up in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, above the Egyptian mummies and fragments of early civilisations, a big black dome is clicking away and flashing out light.

This device, part sci-fi, part-DIY, is providing the most detailed and high quality images ever taken of these elusive symbols cut into clay tablets.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Sh*t I Personally Guarantee You Will Never, EVER Hear Said Aloud, Even If You Live to Be One Thousand Years Old

The French composer Claude Debussy is quoted as saying that, “Music is the space between the notes”.  I think that’s a very apt recognition of the shared responsibility between artist and audience in unearthing the latent content of any piece of art, and I very much like it.  Make your work too overtly programmatic, and you end up with stale self-parody, a la Norman Rockwell.  Overburden it with too many layers of obscure, self-referential ciphers, like Joyce’s “Finnegan’s Wake”, and risk alienating your most enthusiastic audience.

But if you have a lot to say, it can really be difficult to avoid the “Finnegan” trap.  The very fact that you are capable of generating enough observations worthy of communication, of making very fine distinctions in kind and degree, springs from a hypersensitivity that can seem emotionally overwhelming, and very much at odds with one of the inviolable principles of effective communication itself:  clarity.

This is where a solid understanding of the rhetorical ecology will come in handy.  In order to be truly effective, you need to be able to “play the music between the notes”, which is to say, have an appreciation for the various types of person who will read your work the context in which it will be read, today, tomorrow and 200 years from now, and what they will be looking to draw from it.  And you need to accept the fact that some of your strongest, most affecting points will not be articulated by you, but by your critics.… Read the rest

Continue Reading