Does Google Translate speak "like a 10-year-old"?

Nov 7, 2011 by

[Thanks to Martin W. Lewis for inspiration for this post] In several earlier posts (see here, here and here), I’ve already touched on the topic of Google Translate and its failures to… translate. But the argument...

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Parametric theory of word order, language acquisition and historical c...

Oct 21, 2011 by

In the previous posting, I outlined an alternative theory that treats the order of major sentential constituents — subject, object and verb — not as a primitive, but as a result of several binary factors (called...

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On the primacy of the spoken language

Aug 30, 2011 by

Many people hold written language to be the only form of language worthy of serious study. This has been true for many centuries among those in the scholarly community and is still true for many in the general public. This bias...

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Name your color

Jul 8, 2011 by

As was discussed in earlier postings, the cross-linguistic range of color terms is quite complex and languages differ as to how the treat the color spectrum (e.g., see how Hanunoo does it). No surprise then that children have much...

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What is the most difficult language to learn — and why?

Jun 3, 2011 by

As mentioned in the previous posting, there are numerous rankings of “difficult” (and “easy”) languages to learn (note that we are talking about second-language learning here, not acquiring one’s native...

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What is the most difficult language to learn?

Jun 1, 2011 by

This is one of the most frequent questions I get as a linguist: what is the most difficult language to learn? The short answer: the more the target language is different from the language(s) you already speak, the harder it is to...

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