I’ve been on a TED marathon recently. Just the other day this presentation by Deb Roy appeared and blew my mind. This is an amazing project that really underlines the power of corpus data in providing a snapshot of the secret world of language use. Deb at one point makes the suggestion that this approach is as important as the telescope was. I completely agree. The visualizations help drive this point home in that they are very effective in communicating the complex relationships between language use and behavioral interaction in an intuitive way.
Deb Roy: The birth of a word
Another curious report of brain trauma leading to language variation.
An example of a Spanish-African based creole language.
Color naming and the shape of color space
An article again moving towards other methods of characterizing the apparent differences between languages and names for colors.
This article highlights how even deliberately created language forms are subject to the power of the cohort. I don’t see spelling reform happening any time soon; But I did find Naomi Baron’s prediction to be quite interesting: as people’s fluency with technology increases ‘textisms’ will decrease. The impetus for all the chatter about declining writing standards may just evaporate.