But as Singapore cements its position as a financial services hub and top regional tourist destination, the Government is trying to persuade locals to speak standard English. The Government says mastery of English is imperative to raise living standards.
In today’s New Scientist:
Languages are wonderfully idiosyncratic. English puts its subject before its verb. Finnish has lots of cases. Mandarin is highly tonal.
Yet despite these differences, one of the most influential ideas in the study of language is that of universal grammar. (…) For five decades this idea has dominated work in linguistics, psychology and cognitive [...]
Already multinational in expression, English was becoming a global phenomenon with a fierce, inner multinational dynamic, an emerging lingua franca described by the historian Benedict Anderson as “a kind of global-hegemonic post-clerical Latin”.
The accuracy of computer speech recognition flat-lined in 2001, before reaching human levels. The funding plug was pulled, but no funeral, no text-to-speech eulogy followed. Words never meant very much to computers—which made them ten times more error-prone than humans. Humans expected that computer understanding of language would lead to artificially intelligent machines, inevitably [...]
Twenty students are holding several animated small-group
discussions, but no one in this Northern Illinois University
classroom utters a word.
Their fingers weave in complex patterns as they
converse in American Sign Language,
which the university has declared an official foreign language.
“These are people dependent on [...]
As far as the records show, no one has spoken Shinnecock or Unkechaug, languages of Long Island’s Indian tribes, for nearly 200 years. Now Stony Brook University and two of the Indian nations are initiating a joint project to revive these extinct tongues, using old documents like a vocabulary list that Thomas Jefferson wrote [...]
We analyzed the color terms in the World Color Survey (WCS), a large color-naming database obtained from informants of mostly unwritten languages spoken in preindustrialized cultures that have had limited contact with modern, industrialized society. The color naming idiolects of 2,367 [...]