A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Enjoy our special posts in the fields of Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS Blog) and Social Sciences & Arts (SSA Blog)

A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

How can infants learn about sounds in their native language?

Credit: Getty images

Research shows that contexts in which sounds occur may shape ability to interpret acoustic differences

Infants can differentiate most sounds soon after birth, and over the following months, they become language-specific listeners. But researchers are still trying to understand how babies recognize "contrastive" sounds, a linguistics term that describes differences between speech sounds that can change meaning. For example, changing the "b" sound in "ball" to a "d" sound makes the word "doll."

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Listening to the reason of voice

Credit: Gettyimages; Portrait of a talking male common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)

The evolution of language

Speech and language skills are unique to modern humans. While this ability evolved over millions of years, it is not possible to trace language in the fossil record because it leaves no direct imprint. Instead, re-examining the ways our nearest living relatives communicate is helping to unravel this mysterious capability.

The mystery is deepened by the fact that our closest living relatives, the great apes, do not talk. Some scientists now believe that the evolution of our language capabilities are more discernible in living primates than previously assumed.

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The Secret Troves of Etymology

Credit: Gettyimages
The Evolution of Words and Meanings

Words have their own history, which is as revealing and profound for the meaning they bring as, for example, the discovery of electricity for the rapid advancement of modern technology. Each step that language has made through the years left its footprint. A word is a bouquet of various senses and a multitude of connections with other words that eventually produces not only a notion of something but a feeling, imagery. Have you ever thought how is it possible that a given word describes its object so good, how irreplaceable it sounds? Well, it is not only that we have made a convention out of it. It is also the gradual sculpturing of meaning over and over through the centuries. Even though we are not always aware of all these transformations, we have adopted them when we learned to use language. It is a network that is erected upon a huge underground structure of nuances, contexts, and connotations, which are present although implicitly. When we use a word we give rise to a tremendous chain of meanings, that makes us perceive things in one way or another. Today, we will follow the long and captivating adventure of the word cosmos, which has always sounded so beautiful to me, and it turned out it has something to do with beauty.

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The Phenomenon of Language explained

Credit: Pexels 

What is language?

Language is the most common, natural, and constitutional phenomenon among human beings and at the same time one of the greatest mysteries that we have developed. Everyone uses it. Even small children at the age of two are already able to produce language. It is so intrinsic to us that we cannot imagine our life, culture, or let's say, modern world without verbal language. However, language is not only about words and sentences, but rather about sharing ideas and meaning through different forms of signs, which could be visual, sonic, tactile, etc.

Here you can enjoy a lecture from Steven Pinker, renowned linguist and Harvard Psychology Professor:
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The secret troves of Etymology

Image credit: gettyimages.com

Wednesday – the day of Odin

For most of us, Wednesday is just yet another day in the middle of the working week. We seldom ask ourselves what are the meaning and the origins of words that we are used to. Especially, the names of the days, months, countries, planets, constellations, etc. They are laid so deep in our memories and consciousness that we take them for granted. However, each name has its semantic roots and historical background. And believe me, most of the time they are truly amazing and unpredictable. Today, we will follow a bit from the story of one really common name – Wednesday.

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SSA Recent Posts

02 December 2022
Social Sciences & Arts (SSA)
Credit: Portrait of Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud (1856 - 1939) as he sits behind his desk in his study, Vienna, Austria, 1930s. The office is filled with figurines and statuettes of various origins. (Photo by Authenticated News/Getty Images) V...
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30 November 2022
Social Sciences & Arts (SSA)
Credit: American artist, musician and producer of Haitian and Puerto Rican origins Jean-Michel Basquiat, in front of one of his paintings, during an exhibition at the Yvon Lambert gallery. (Photo by julio donoso/Sygma via Getty Images) The art of Bas...
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27 November 2022
Social Sciences & Arts (SSA)
Credit: Portrait Franz Kafka, around 1905; Getty Images Thoughts to reflect on 1. "A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity." 2. "All language is but a poor translation." 3. "By believing passionately in something that still does not exist...
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