Posts tagged language
Posts tagged language
Matt Davis, Programme Leader of the Hearing and Language Group at Cambridge’s Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit:
Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
This text circulated on the internet in September 2003. I first became aware of it when a journalist contacted a my colleague Sian Miller on 16th September, trying to track down the original source. It’s been passed on many times, and in the way of most internet memes has mutated along the way. It struck me as interesting - especially when I received a version that mentioned Cambridge University! I work at Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, in Cambridge, UK, a Medical Research Council unit that includes a large group investigating how the brain processes language. If there’s a new piece of research on reading that’s been conducted in Cambridge, I thought I should have heard of it before…
I’ve written this page, to try to explain the science behind this meme. There are elements of truth in this, but also some things which scientists studying the psychology of language (psycholinguists) know to be incorrect.
There is a lot of science and citations here. It’s excellent.
The Local, Sweden edition:
In December, the [Swedish Language Council] unveiled its customary annual list of new Swedish words. Among the words that Swedes had begun using in 2012 was “ogooglebar" (‘ungoogleable’).
The California-based multinational [Google] soon got into a huff, asking the council to amend its definition. But the language experts refused to bow down to the demands, instead choosing a third option - removing the term altogether.
This is all incredibly silly.
Rob Mifsud wrote a nice, readable explanation of the Northern Cities vowel shift that’s happening in the United States:
American dialects are actually diverging.
There are multiple examples of such divergence. But none is as dramatic, as baffling to linguists, and as mysteriously under the collective radar as what’s happening in the cities that ring the Great Lakes. From Syracuse, N.Y., in the east to Milwaukee in the west, 34 million Americans are revolutionizing the sound of English.
Language is weird and fascinating.
Germany’s The Local:
Germany needed Shitstorm, according to a group of language experts who elected the word as the top English contribution to the German language last year.
The jury said in a statement on Monday: “Shitstorm fills a gap in the German vocabulary that has become apparent through changes in the culture of public debate.”
The Anglicism of the Year contest, organised since 2010 by University of Hamburg linguist Anatol Stefanowitsch, is designed to recognise English’s contribution to German as the language evolves.
A fine choice.