I often see a word in print long before I hear it pronounced. That’s fine for most words—”antidisestablishmentarianism” isn’t actually that hard to deconstruct—but it can get me in trouble sometimes. For years I thought misled was pronounced “mizzled”, and I never did decide how envelope should sound. Now that’s going to be a lot [...]
This is a great article in National Geographic called Animal Minds. Certain skills are considered key signs of higher mental abilities: good memory, a grasp of grammar and symbols, self-awareness, understanding others’ motives, imitating others, and being creative. Bit by bit, in ingenious experiments, researchers have documented these talents in other species, gradually chipping away [...]
Those of you with an interest in things Chinese and para-Chinese (I’m looking at you. Ahem.) might be interested in reading the blog that anthropologist David K. Jordan has been maintaining while spending a semester teaching in Asia. It’s chock full of linguistic and religious observations, all with that pleasant snarkiness that DKJ has mastered.
Another bit of insight into animal languages from this AP story: Nuthatches appear to have learned to understand a foreign language – chickadee. It’s not unusual for one animal to react to the alarm call of another, but nuthatches seem to go beyond that – interpreting the type of alarm and what sort of predator [...]