Category Archives: Language

What’s the world’s oldest language?

Lucy Tu writes: The globe hums with thousands of languages. But when did humans first lay out a structured system to communicate, one that was distinct to a particular area? Scientists are aware of more than 7,100 languages in use today. Nearly 40 percent of them are considered endangered, meaning they have a declining number… Read More »

Wild parrot chicks babble like human infants

Science reports: Babies don’t babble to sound cute—they’re taking their first steps on the path to learning language. Now, a study shows parrot chicks do the same. Although the behavior has been seen in songbirds and two mammalian species, finding it in these birds is important, experts say, as they may provide the best nonhuman… Read More »

Some neural networks learn language like humans

Steve Nadis writes: How do brains learn? It’s a mystery, one that applies both to the spongy organs in our skulls and to their digital counterparts in our machines. Even though artificial neural networks (ANNs) are built from elaborate webs of artificial neurons, ostensibly mimicking the way our brains process information, we don’t know if… Read More »

Your brain wires itself to match your native language

Science News reports: The language we learn growing up seems to leave a lasting, biological imprint on our brains. German and Arabic native speakers have different connection strengths in specific parts of the brain’s language circuit, researchers report February 19 in NeuroImage, hinting that the cognitive demands of our native languages physically shape the brain.… Read More »

Unlocking secrets of the honeybee dance language – bees learn and culturally transmit their communication skills

A honeybee is performing the waggle dance in the center of this photo to communicate the location of a rich nectar source to its nestmates. Heather Broccard-Bell, CC BY-ND By James C. Nieh, University of California, San Diego The Greek historian Herodotus reported over 2,000 years ago on a misguided forbidden experiment in which two… Read More »

Finding language in the brain

Giosuè Baggio writes: What exactly is language? At first thought, it’s a continuous flow of sounds we hear, sounds we make, scribbles on paper or on a screen, movements of our hands, and expressions on our faces. But if we pause for a moment, we find that behind this rich experiential display is something different:… Read More »