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Online Crowdsourcing Meets Speech Therapy

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Crowdsourcing – where responses to a task are aggregated across a large number of individuals – can be an effective tool for rating sounds in speech disorders research, according to a study by NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

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Communicating Emotions

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Mandarin-speakers rely more on tone of voice rather than on facial cues to understand emotion compared to English-language speakers. This may be a result of the limited eye contact and more restrained facial expressions common in East Asian cultures.

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Tracing Languages Back to Their Common Ancestors Through the Statistics of Sound Shifts

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A statistical technique that sorts out when changes to words’ pronunciations most likely occurred in the evolution of a language offers a renewed opportunity to trace words and languages back to their earliest common ancestor or ancestors.

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Crowdsourcing a Valid Option for Gathering Speech Ratings

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Crowdsourcing – where responses to a task are aggregated across a large number of individuals recruited online – can be an effective tool for rating sounds in speech disorders research, according to a study by NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

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F-Bombs Notwithstanding, All Languages Skew Toward Happiness

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Arabic movie subtitles, Korean tweets, Russian novels, Chinese websites, English lyrics, and even the war-torn pages of the New York Times—research from the University of Vermont, examining billions of words, shows that these sources—and all human language—skews toward the use of happy words. This Big Data study confirms the 1969 Pollyanna Hypothesis that there is a universal human tendency to “look on and talk about the bright side of life.”

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Do Infants Judge Others’ Language Proficiency? It Depends on Their Own, Research Shows

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Monolingual infants expect others to understand only one language, an assumption not held by bilingual infants, a study by researchers at New York University and McGill University has found.

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Serious Monkey Business: Linguistic Methods Uncover Sophisticated Meanings and Monkey Dialects

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The same species of monkeys located in separate geographic regions use their alarm calls differently to warn of approaching predators, a linguistic analysis by a team of scientists reveals. The study reveals that monkey calls have a more sophisticated structure than was commonly thought.

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Are You Helping Your Toddler’s Aggressive Behaviour?

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Physical aggression in toddlers has been thought to be associated with the frustration caused by language problems, but a recent study by researchers at the University of Montreal shows that this isn’t the case. The researchers did find, however, that parental behaviours may influence the development of an association between the two problems during early childhood. Frequent hitting, kicking, and a tendency to bite or push others are examples of physical aggression observed in toddlers.

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Speaking of Language: Birthday v. Birfday and More

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Kirk Hazen, a linguistics professor in the Department of English at West Virginia University, wants everyone to learn how language works. His new book, “An Introduction to Language,” provides readers who have no background in linguistics a tour of English and how language works in their lives.

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The Science of Charismatic Voices

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When a right-wing Italian politician named Umberto Bossi suffered a severe stroke in 2004, his speech became permanently impaired. Strangely, this change impacted Bossi’s perception among his party’s followers -- from appearing authoritarian to benevolent. Now researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles think they know why.