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The Science of Sarcasm? Yeah, Right

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A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition: Why You Are Not Your Brain | Guest Blog Embodied cognition, the idea that the mind is not only connected to the body but that the body influences the mind, is one of the more counter-intuitive ideas in cognitive science. In sharp contrast is dualism, a theory of mind famously put forth by Rene Descartes in the 17th century when he claimed that “there is a great difference between mind and body, inasmuch as body is by nature always divisible, and the mind is entirely indivisible... the mind or soul of man is entirely different from the body.” In the proceeding centuries, the notion of the disembodied mind flourished. From it, western thought developed two basic ideas: reason is disembodied because the mind is disembodied and reason is transcendent and universal. Cognitive science calls this entire philosophical worldview into serious question on empirical grounds... What exactly does this mean? Embodied cognition has a relatively short history. Noam Chomsky (Wikimedia Commons) Metaphors We Live By was a game changer.

Daniel Everett: Endangered Languages Good evening, I am Laura Welcher from The Long Now Foundation. I am the director of the Rosetta Project. Some of you may know, this summer, we finished our first prototype Rosetta disk, after 8 years of work, and so now five copies of that disk are out there in the world, that is to the very long-term archive of the Rosetta Project as you know is a collection of the world’s languages. When we made that available over the past several years, we have had many, many request for a version that would not cost $25,000 and that we could distribute it very widely. So, I am very pleased to announce that we have now made a version that can be distributed very widely, and this is a digital fully browsable version of the disk which is available now on DVD and today we have made it available at the Rosetta Project website for anybody to go and interact with.

The Mind is a Metaphor: As It Were As It Were · 2006-09-27 by Brad Pasanek Must we mean what we say? In the case of metaphor, meaning is underspecified, patently false, or—according to some theorists—somehow transmuted. Somehow changed. Words must mean just what they mean.1 But what of speakers? “As it were”—a curious, parenthetic phrase. The philosopher is much given to hedging claims with an “as it were.” Oh unfortunate dualist, betrayed by a philosophy of language. James Beattie makes a pun of a kind: “when the senses have nothing to employ them, the mind is left (if I may so speak) a prey to its own thoughts” (I.ii, p. 92). But Locke marks out his own metaphors as well: memory is “as it were the Store-house of our Ideas” (II.x.2) and “The Mind very often sets it self on work in search of some hidden Idea, and turns, as it were, the Eye of the Soul upon it” (II.x.7).3 “As it were” has its equivalents. Andrew Marvell uses a parenthetic phrase in his “Dialogue Between the Soul and Body.” Notes

Imagine A Flying Pig: How Words Take Shape In The Brain : Shots - Health News hide captionAlthough a flying pig doesn't exist in the real world, our brains use what we know about pigs and birds — and superheroes — to create one in our mind's eye when we hear or read those words. Although a flying pig doesn't exist in the real world, our brains use what we know about pigs and birds — and superheroes — to create one in our mind's eye when we hear or read those words. This is a story about a duck. More precisely, it's a story about what your brain just did when you read the word "duck." Chances are, your brain created an image of a web-footed waterfowl. Just a few decades ago, many linguists thought the human brain had evolved a special module for language. But in the 1990s, scientists began testing the language-module theory using "functional" MRI technology that let them watch the brain respond to words. "They found something totally surprising," Bergen says. "A flying pig isn't something that actually exists in the real world," Bergen says.

Keith Chen: language that forecasts weather — and behavior By Keith Chen How are China, Estonia and Germany different from India, Greece and the UK? To an economist, one answer is obvious: savings rates. Germans save 10 percentage points more than the British do (as a fraction of GDP), while Estonians and Chinese save a whopping 20 percentage points more than Greeks and Indians. Economists think a lot about what drives people to save, but many of these international differences remain unexplained. Keith Chen: Could your language affect your ability to save money? In late 2011, an idea struck me while reading several papers in psychology that link a person’s language with differences in how they think about space, color, and movement. In a nutshell, this is precisely what I found. Back when my first paper on this topic circulated, many linguists were appropriately skeptical of the work. Rain is likely this weekend. It will likely rain this weekend. What does this mean?

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows Words and phrases: frequency, genres, collocates, concordances, synonyms, and... » Lera Boroditsky, “How Language Shapes Thought” A Summary by Stewart Brand “To have a second language is to have a second soul,” said Charlemagne around 800 AD. “Each language has its own cognitive toolkit,” said psychologist/linguist Lera Boroditsky in 2010 AD. Different languages handle verbs, distinctions, gender, time, space, metaphor, and agency differently, and those differences, her research shows, make people think and act differently. Take a sentence such as “Sarah Palin read Chomsky’s latest book.” Read the rest of Stewart Brand’s Summary here.