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  • August 7, 2015
  • 11:32 AM
  • 817 views

Scientists Want Your Slips of the Tongue

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



You know that feeling when you're halfway through a sentence and can't think of the next word you need? It's a word you know, but you can't quite bring it to mind. There's a name for that phenomenon...what is it, again?

Oh right, the "tip of the tongue."

Everyday failures in our speech, like forgetting a word or saying the wrong one, are great fodder for scientists who want to understand language. But they're hard to study in the lab, because you can't force someone to make a mistake. ... Read more »

Michael S. Vitevitch. (2015) Speech error and tip-of-the-tongue diary for mobile devices. Frontiers in Psychology. info:/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01190

  • July 15, 2015
  • 04:39 AM
  • 1,205 views

Frightful language tests

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

In the Middle Ages those suspected of witchcraft were often subjected to a ‘trial by fire’ to prove their innocence or guilt. The idea was that fire was a divine manifestation and hence the ordeal of being burnt would result … Continue reading →... Read more »

Young, M. M. (1989) Comment: The Salem Witch Trials 300 Years Later: How Far Has the American Legal System Come? How Much Further Does It Need to Go?. Tulane Law Review, 234-258. info:/

  • July 8, 2015
  • 01:07 AM
  • 1,256 views

Language or religion: which is the greater fault line in diverse societies?

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

In a shopping mall in the city of Brighton, UK, a tourist was arrested on terrorism charges last week for taking a selfie video. Surely, taking selfies in a shopping mall is such a part of contemporary culture that the … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • June 30, 2015
  • 09:12 PM
  • 908 views

Mongolian on the market

by Gegentuul Baioud in Language on the Move

Last week when I saw in my friends’ Wechat group an advertisement for delicately made Mongolian yurts, I thought of an article I had read earlier written by Mongolian scholar Naran Bilik. In his paper about urbanized Mongolians Bilik writes: … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • May 27, 2015
  • 04:13 PM
  • 839 views

On dialects, similects, and the -lishes

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

One of the major lines of English as a lingua franca (ELF) research is how to describe the features of English in interaction between second-language users. With the multitude of accents and variable usage of English you find in the world today, the most obvious quality of ELF talk is its diversity (some say it’s […]... Read more »

Mauranen, Anna. (2012) Exploring ELF: Academic English shaped by non-native speakers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. info:/

  • May 26, 2015
  • 09:15 PM
  • 1,030 views

Voice of China on the move

by Alexandra Grey in Language on the Move

It’s a weeknight at the Sydney Town Hall, an ornate 19th century building in the city centre. Almost everyone bustling in the entryway is of Chinese extraction, except the ushers (and me). They’re all ages, and as I pour inside … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • May 19, 2015
  • 11:14 PM
  • 1,220 views

Are the children of intermarried couples smarter?

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Ever since my research for my 2002 book Bilingual Couples Talk I’ve regularly been told by people – or been asked to confirm their belief – that a cross-cultural relationship is beneficial once the couple have children. The children are … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • May 13, 2015
  • 01:01 AM
  • 1,175 views

“Naughty boys” trying to learn

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Teacher expectations can constitute a self-fulfilling prophecy: teachers behave differently towards children depending on their expectations of them. The ways in which teachers treat students affect students’ self-concept, motivation, achievement and aspirations. Over time, the performance of high-expectation students will … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • April 20, 2015
  • 10:45 AM
  • 1,017 views

Aphasia factors vs. subtypes

by Dan Mirman in Minding the Brain

One of the interesting things (to me anyway) that came out of our recent factor analysis project (Mirman et al., 2015, in press; see Part 1 and Part 2) is a way of reconsidering aphasia types in terms of psycholinguistic factors rather than the traditional clinical aphasia subtypes. The traditional aphasia subtyping approach is to use a diagnostic test like the Western Aphasia Battery or the Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination to assign an individual with aphasia to one of several subtype cate........ Read more »

Mirman, D., Chen, Q., Zhang, Y., Wang, Z., Faseyitan, O.K., Coslett, H.B., & Schwartz, M.F. (2015) Neural Organization of Spoken Language Revealed by Lesion-Symptom Mapping. Nature Communications, 6(6762), 1-9. info:/

  • April 17, 2015
  • 11:03 AM
  • 1,072 views

Mapping the language system: Part 2

by Dan Mirman in Minding the Brain

This is the second of a multi-part post about a pair of papers that just came out (Mirman et al., 2015, in press). Part 1 was about the behavioral data: we started with 17 behavioral measures from 99 participants with aphasia following left hemisphere stroke. Using factor analysis, we reduced those 17 measures to 4 underlying factors: Semantic Recognition, Speech Production, Speech Recognition, and Semantic Errors. For each of these factors, we then used voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping (........ Read more »

Hickok G. (2012) Computational neuroanatomy of speech production. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 13(2), 135-145. PMID: 22218206  

Hickok, Gregory S, & Poeppel, David. (2007) The cortical organization of speech processing. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 8(May), 393-402. info:/

Zhang Y., Kimberg D.Y., Coslett H.B., Schwartz M.F., & Wang Z. (2014) Multivariate lesion-symptom mapping using support vector regression. Human Brain Mapping, 35(12), 5861-5876. PMID: 25044213  

  • April 16, 2015
  • 10:48 AM
  • 967 views

Mapping the language system: Part 1

by Dan Mirman in Minding the Brain

My colleagues and I have a pair of papers coming out in Nature Communications and Neuropsychologia that I'm particularly excited about. The data came from Myrna Schwartz's long-running anatomical case series project in which behavioral and structural neuroimaging data were collected from a large sample of individuals with aphasia following left hemisphere stroke. We pulled together data from 17 measures of language-related performance for 99 participants, each of those participants was also........ Read more »

Mirman, D., Chen, Q., Zhang, Y., Wang, Z., Faseyitan, O.K., Coslett, H.B., & Schwartz, M.F. (2015) Neural Organization of Spoken Language Revealed by Lesion-Symptom Mapping. Nature Communications, 6(6762), 1-9. info:/

  • April 14, 2015
  • 10:06 PM
  • 971 views

‘Investing in language:’ Why do we think about language education the way we do?

by Agnes Bodis in Language on the Move

If someone cannot now learn their native language, adding a couple of foerign (sic) dead languages is not going to help them. And there is no possible economic return such as is available from Asian languages or living European languages … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • April 8, 2015
  • 12:52 AM
  • 1,235 views

Children of the harvest: schooling, class and race

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

I’ve just come across a fascinating article about the schooling of migrant children during the Great Depression era in the US West Coast states. The authors, Paul Theobald and Rubén Donato, tell a fascinating tale of the manipulation of schooling … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • March 30, 2015
  • 12:00 PM
  • 964 views

Human Evolution

by Viputheshwar Sitaraman in Draw Science

Evolution: How we became human. An Infographic by Yisela A. Trentini.... Read more »

W. Howard Levie, & Richard Lentz. (1982) Effects of text illustrations: A review of research. Educational Technology Research , 30(4), 195-232. info:/10.1007/BF02765184

  • March 25, 2015
  • 09:00 AM
  • 1,298 views

This Nose Knows

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Evolution has given the sperm whale the most amazing head in the animal kingdom. They’ve got the biggest brain – all 18 lb.s of it. It has 1900 liters of sperm oil that almost caused in the extinction of the animal. It has one nostril that’s offset on its head, making the whale asymmetric. But most impressively, he can change the density of his head to help him dive or surface, and to do it he uses the same organ he uses for echolocation!... Read more »

  • March 24, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 1,709 views

A Universal Translator By Any Other Name…

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

Star Trek wouldn’t have been possible without the universal translator. Who would want to watch a show where characters don’t understand each other – of course, that doesn’t stop people from watching political debates. The technology of a universal translator is easy, we have camera phones that will show you a foreign sign in your own language. It’s the software to decipher a previously unencountered language that’s proving tough to overcome. Are there any uni........ Read more »

Rao, R., Yadav, N., Vahia, M., Joglekar, H., Adhikari, R., & Mahadevan, I. (2009) Entropic Evidence for Linguistic Structure in the Indus Script. Science, 324(5931), 1165-1165. DOI: 10.1126/science.1170391  

Snyder, Benjamin, Regina Barzilay and Kevin Knight. (2010) A Statistical Model for Lost Language Decipherment. Proceedings of the 48th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, ACL 2010. info:/

  • March 23, 2015
  • 08:05 AM
  • 1,034 views

Pictures, Not Paragraphs

by Viputheshwar Sitaraman in Draw Science

Old and new literature confirm the common idea that visual communication and learning is far more effective and appealing than just text.... Read more »

W. Howard Levie, & Richard Lentz. (1982) Effects of text illustrations: A review of research. Educational Technology Research , 30(4), 195-232. info:/10.1007/BF02765184

  • March 17, 2015
  • 07:35 PM
  • 1,127 views

Paying lip-service to diversity

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Bilingual education presents a major conundrum in contemporary diverse societies: on the one hand, bilingualism and diversity more generally are applauded in many educational discourses and widely seen as a good thing; on the other hand, schooling is all about … Continue reading →... Read more »

Robertson, L., Drury, R., & Cable, C. (2014) Silencing bilingualism: a day in a life of a bilingual practitioner. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 17(5), 610-623. DOI: 10.1080/13670050.2013.864252  

  • March 3, 2015
  • 06:48 PM
  • 1,080 views

Is language learning on the job the best way to learn a new language?

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

One of the most famous research subjects to ever have participated in second language learning research is a man known in the literature as Alberto. In 1973 Alberto participated in a ten-month longitudinal study of his learning of various English … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • March 3, 2015
  • 11:44 AM
  • 962 views

When lexical competition becomes lexical cooperation

by Dan Mirman in Minding the Brain

Lexical neighborhood effects are one of the most robust findings in spoken word recognition: words with many similar-sounding words ("neighbors") are recognized more slowly and less accurately than words with few neighbors. About 10 years ago, when I was just starting my post-doc training with Jim Magnuson, we wondered about semantic neighborhood effects. We found that things were less straightforward in semantics: near semantic neighbors slowed down visual word recognition, but distant semantic........ Read more »

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