Wednesday, February 10, 2010

animals, humans treat vowels and consonants as different

Interestingly, living organisms like non-human primates who do not have language, seem to behave in the opposite way: "Other researchers showed that primates can compute statistics on vowels but not on consonants. We think that this behavior, which is the opposite to what our human participants did, can be explained because animals consider vowels as simple sounds without any grammatical value, and hence they are free to compute statistical relations among them", Bonatti says. "Instead, they ignore consonants completely because they cannot consider them as having linguistic import, treat them as simple noise, and hence disregard them entirely."
D: try it with your pet cat or dog.
Rover might respond to o'r. Try it.

People approach vowels and consonants differently too.

Through a study carried out at the Universities of La Laguna and Valencia, it has been verified that the brain distinguishes between vowels and consonants differently. Neuronal mechanisms change when they are processed and, when it comes to lexical access; both have a different status in our mind, thus contributing differently to this basic process of visual word recognition.

For Carreiras and his team, there is "an alternative vision regarding the differences observed between consonants and vowels", which is related to frequency. "Vowels tend to be more frequent than consonants". In most languages there are more consonants, but vowels are more frequent, which opens the door to the debate of whether consonant-vowel status is more important than the frequency of the letter in question.

D: I've already noted that the brain tends to look to consonants for vocabulary and vowels for grammar.

I wonder if this could be finessed to treat semi-vowels as, well, semi-vowels. Somewhat grammatical?

This does support the approach of Esperanto and Ygyde.

I'm done with the blog for a while. I totally have writer's block right now. Hit the wall.

Gonna read some fiction. Then hit the linguistic classics. Generative grammar, phonology, body gestures, et al.

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