This week in languages: Mar 11, 2016

by on March 11, 2016



Skype translator has added Modern Standard Arabic—currently the fifth most commonly spoken language in the world—to the growing list of languages that it can speak out-loud. According to Microsoft’s Gurdeep Singh Pall, this is a particularly timely development considering the ongoing Middle Eastern refugee crisis and the need to connect refugees with their friends and family.

Researchers at Northwestern University, USA, have found a way to monitor amyloid protein fluids in the brain of people with Alzheimers—while they are still alive. This technology would guide treatment and identify brain regions to target for future drug trials, for example, in people who have lost their ability to use and process language. In the paper titled “Is in vivo Amyloid Distribution Asymmetric in Primary Progressive Aphasia?”, researchers discovered that “there was more amyloid in the left hemisphere (where language is thought to be processed) parietal region of individuals with primary progressive aphasia compared to those with Alzheimer’s memory dementia”.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge, New York University, and Université de Montréal have developed a free crossword puzzle solver that—apart from helping you solve that cryptic clue—can also help artificial intelligence (AI) systems learn human language! The web-based solver uses artificial neural networks (like a brain) and was trained to “understand words, phrases and sentences” by feeding it with massive amounts of data from Wikipedia and six dictionaries.

Where else but in human language can we find syntax? A new study, entitled “Experimental evidence for compositional syntax in bird calls”, published in Nature Communications finds that Japanese great tits combine their calls to communicate important messages, in a structure that mirrors that of syntax in human language. Authors of the study analysed recordings of the birds’ calls and noted patterns in the way they communicate, for example, to warn of predators or to signal another bird to “come here”.

Commentaries and Features

On February 21, people around the world celebrated International Mother Language Day. Sign language interpreter and performer, Xiaoshu Alice Hu celebrated by bringing attention to Chinese sign languages and the populations of people who rely on it for communication, reports What’s On Weibo. Weibo is a popular micro-blogging platform from China.

Need motivation for practising English, French, Spanish, and/or German? Lingogo, a new app developed by three Kiwis, aims to enable learners of those languages to encourage themselves with bilingual stories in any of the aforementioned languages. Users can download the app for free and buy stories—updated monthly on the virtual bookshelf—they want to read, with three different levels of difficulty.

What does gender have to do with the language we want to learn? In a survey conducted by the language learning site Babbel, men were more likely to prefer learning German, Portuguese, and Russian, while women preferred Dutch, French, Italian, and Spanish, The Washington Post reports. The study analysed the data of Babbel‘s 1 million customers, mainly based in Europe and North America.

Not many know that Senegal’s first president Léopold Sédar Senghor was an accomplished poet, but 15 years after his death, some of his works are finally being presented, not only in French, but also in one of Senegal’s native languages, Serer.

7 Responses to “This week in languages: Mar 11, 2016”

  1. الأدوات اليدوية لأعمال النجارة:
    المطرقة: تستخدم لضرب المواد الصلبة بقصد التأثير عليها بدفع داخلي ، كما هو الحال في دق مسمار في الخشب ؛ لماذا تختلف العديد من الأنواع والأحجام وفقًا للاستخدام.
    مفك البراغي: يستخدم لقلب المسمار لإدخاله أو إزالته من سطح خشبي ، ويتميز برأس يتناسب مع فتحة المسمار
    المسامير والبراغي: وهي على شكل قضيب معدني بنهاية مدببة. تختلف الم영동출장샵سامير عن البراغي من حيث أن لها سطح أملس حيث يسهل نقلها إلى الخشب بينما المسامير لها سطح مسنن بنمط مستمر ومستمر. تسهل الدوائر المترابطة عملية التدحرج
    المنجرة: طاولة خشبية يقوم عليها النجار بمعظم أعماله
    دسار: هو شكل قضيب صغير مصنوع من مادة صلبة ويستخدم لتثبيت قطع الأثاث معًا.
    كماشة: تستخدم فكها القوي لعمل حركة دائرية للمسامير أو الأسلاك الصلبة
    مسطرة الخشب: تستخدم لقياس وتحديد حجم الخشب

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