Tag Archives | speech

Neanderthal Bone May Push Back Development of Complex Speech

Pic: Yulia S. (CC)

Pic: Yulia S. (CC)

New research seems to suggest that the Neanderthals could speak as well as modern humans.

Via BBC News:

An analysis of a Neanderthal’s fossilised hyoid bone – a horseshoe-shaped structure in the neck – suggests the species had the ability to speak.

This has been suspected since the 1989 discovery of a Neanderthal hyoid that looks just like a modern human’s.

But now computer modelling of how it works has shown this bone was also used in a very similar way.

Writing in journal Plos One, scientists say its study is “highly suggestive” of complex speech in Neanderthals.

The hyoid bone is crucial for speaking as it supports the root of the tongue. In non-human primates, it is not placed in the right position to vocalise like humans.

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1997 Address by Nelson Mandela at the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, plus 5 videos

via chycho

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Below you will find Nelson Mandela’s 1997 address at the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, as well as five relevant videos:

Address by President Nelson Mandela at the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
4 December 1997, Pretoria

Mr. Chairman;
Mr. Suleyman al-Najab,
Special Emissary of President Yasser Arafat;
Members of the diplomatic corps;
Distinguished Guests,

“We have assembled once again as South Africans, our Palestinian guests and as humanists to express our solidarity with the people of Palestine.

“I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate the organisers of the event, particularly the United Nations Information Centre and the UNISA Centre for Arabic and Islamic Studies for this magnificent act of compassion, to keep the flames of solidarity, justice and freedom burning.

“The temptation in our situation is to speak in muffled tones about an issue such as the right of the people of Palestine to a state of their own.

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Translation Machine To Make Human-Dolphin Conversations Possible

flipperWhat secrets of the sea have dolphins been waiting to tell us? We may soon find out (hopefully not just tuna jokes). New Scientist reports:

A diver carrying a computer that tries to recognize dolphin sounds and generate responses in real time will soon attempt to communicate with wild dolphins off the coast of Florida. If the bid is successful, it will be a big step towards two-way communication between humans and dolphins.

Since the 1960s, captive dolphins have been communicating via pictures and sounds. In the 1990s, Louis Herman of the Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory in Honolulu, Hawaii, found that bottlenose dolphins can keep track of over 100 different words. They can also respond appropriately to commands in which the same words appear in a different order, understanding the difference between “bring the surfboard to the man” and “bring the man to the surfboard”, for example.

But communication in most of these early experiments was one-way, says Denise Herzing, founder of the Wild Dolphin Project in Jupiter, Florida.

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Woman Awakens From Surgery With British Accent

110501_karen_butlerAnother baffling case as foreign accent syndrome (an actual medical condition) strikes again. When will a cure emerge? I prescribe being wrapped tightly in an American flag for two days, followed by 10 cc’s of apple pie. Spokane, WA’s Spokesman-Review reports:

Over the next few days, the swelling subsided and the pain vanished, but Butler’s newly acquired accent did not. Though it has softened over time, she’s never again spoken like a native Oregonian from Madras. To most people, she sounds British.

It took months to find an explanation: foreign accent syndrome, a disorder so rare that only about 60 cases have been documented worldwide since the early 1900s.

Foreign accent syndrome is usually caused by a stroke, though it also has been associated with multiple sclerosis, head injuries and migraines.

One of the first cases was reported at the turn of the last century by a French neurologist. But the best known case, documented by Norwegian neurologist Georg Herman Monrad-Krohn, was a 30-year-old woman who was hit by shrapnel from a German air raid over Oslo in 1941.

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