Friday, December 24, 2010

dog knows 1000 words

Watch Pilley give Chaser some impressively complex commands -- combining three verbs with three nouns -- in the video below. She understands the verbs “nose,” “get” and “paw.” Her reward is playtime with “Blue,” a little ball she chases across the room. For a whole collection of Chaser videos, click here.

She learned common nouns that represented categories, such as “ball,” and she learned to infer the names of objects by their association with other objects.

Heck, that is Ogden's Basic English.

I am curious if any abstracts were taught.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

dyslexia. brain site. about reading problems.

Did you know that 10 in 1 people are dyslexic? 10 in 1! <:

Dyslexia, a brain-based learning disability that impairs a person's ability to read, affects 5 to 17 percent of U.S. children. Affected children's ability to improve their reading skills varies greatly, with about one-fifth able to benefit from interventions and develop adequate reading skills by adulthood. But up to this point, what happens in this brain to allow for this improvement remained unknown.

D - Written, spoken and both.

D - I think those who are dyslexic are often also innumerate.

The complexity of a language's orthography or spelling system – formally, its orthographic depth – has a direct impact on how difficult it is to learn to read that language. English has a comparatively deep orthography within the Latin alphabet writing system, with a complex orthographic structure that employs spelling patterns at several levels: principally, letter-sound correspondences, syllables, and morphemes. Other languages, such as Spanish, have alphabetic orthographies that employ only letter-sound correspondences, so-called shallow orthographies. It is relatively easy to learn to read languages like Spanish; it is much more difficult to learn to read languages with more complex orthographies, such as English.[48] Logographic writing systems, notably Japanese and Chinese characters, have a purer direct relationship between the sound of a word and the representative visual symbols, which pose a different type of dyslexic difficulty

For languages with relatively deep orthographies, such as English, French, Arabic or Hebrew, new readers have a great deal more difficulty learning to decode words. As a result, children learn to read more slowly.
D -
D: brain basis for literacy.

In today's edition of Nature, researchers from the UK, Spain and Colombia describe a study working with an unusual cohort: former guerrillas in Colombia who are re-integrating into mainstream society and learning to read for the first time as adults.

"Separating out changes in our brains caused by learning to read has so far proven almost impossible because of other confounding factors," explains Professor Cathy Price, a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow at UCL (University College London). "Working with the former Colombia guerrillas has provided a unique opportunity to see how the brain develops when reading skills are acquired."

D - predict language and math ability by finger length ratio.

They then divided the length of the index finger by that of the ring finger -- to calculate the child's digit ratio.

When they compared this ratio to the children's SAT scores, they found that a smaller ratio (i.e. a longer ring finger and therefore greater prenatal exposure to testosterone) meant a larger difference between ability in maths and literacy, favouring numeracy relative to literacy.

When they looked at boy's and girl's performance separately, the researchers found a clear link between high prenatal testosterone exposure, as measured by digit ratio, and higher numeracy SAT scores in males.

They also found a link between low prenatal testosterone exposure, which resulted in a shorter ring finger compared with the index finger, and higher literacy SAT scores for girls.


D: looks like competition between the sexes for ideal genes.
Um, my fingers say I'm supposed to be hyperaggressive... hmm.

Aside: my premise for the vowel system for CVN (see other blog) was wrong.
I just never looked at it closely. I just assumed the progression of vowel universality was
1) AUI - universal
2) Italian-style ah eh ee oh oo was next - Espo style.
But my design premise is NOT what most language backgrounds can handle first.
It is, first and foremost, accessible to Chinese speakers.
When I finally looked at the Mandarin vowels, I discovered they do no match 2).
D - I find the match of vowel letters to sounds confusing.
Don't forget the dual vowels.
13 compound finals: ai, ao, ei, ia, iao, ie, iou, ou, ua, uai, üe, uei, uo
a - far, father
e - send, very
i - sit, it
yi - machine
o - saw, all.
u - too, loop
u diacritic - german u. yeeee/yuuu?
The German long "ü" and short "ü" are two of the hardest sounds for the English speaker to master, as there are no direct equivalents in the English language. (ü ) similar to ew in pew; more like ue in French rue.

D - sorry, this one gets chopped. An Anglo is gonna get killed by it.

D - OK I cannot hear the difference between the A in father and all.

D - the sites don't seem to agree with each other on vowel sounds.

Anyway, if I need to discard 1 vowel and collapse 2 others together, that does not
leave much.

The 'intermediate' level of CVN with vowel diphthongs will likely be the default version for Chinese Speakers.
Not that the initial M and er final get discarded.
The goal is to have words and sounds that clearly indicate word boundaries.
That means words cannot appear the same both forward and in reverse.
There must be word-initial ONLY (and mid) consonants, and word-final ONLY.
Half the Cantonese word-final consonants get rejected for this reason.
This leaves the tricky case of M.
In word initial position it precludes word-final.
And Mandarin speakers can use it word-initial but not word-final - at least easily.
D - so why would I want M word-final only?
I end up with more possible one syllable words.
Though this is misleading, since the basic structure of CVN (formerly Decimese) is
1) CV 'core' - this resembles the Espo system of lacking a grammatical element
2) a word -final nasal consonant then denotes grammar - noun, verb, adjective, adverb
Word order takes care of the rest.
Again, I CAN make a system that would allow only -N and -NG word final, with M- in word initial position. We'll see.
Also note that groups of sounds like PBM are the same lip-reading position as visemes. I'd really like to retain a simple system to port over my Visemese to CVN, as with my one blog entry on Decimese.

Mandarin syllables. There are 22 initials and 35 finals. Add the four tones, and you get a theoretical maximum of 3080 possible syllables. But, as you can see from the chart, only about two-thirds of the possibilities are actually used, which means that Mandarin uses only around 2000 syllables (I didn't count).

D: since Mandarin speakers say two words back to back that are structured CV and M, then saying CVM (consonant -vowel- M nasal consonant) is not much of a stretch for them.
They'll also hafta just use the 'empty space' in their syllable chart. Again, not too hard - I hope.

The finals m and ng can only be used as standalone nasal syllables.
D - interesting... M, N, NG as a set of 3 core denoters?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

the other side of propaganda. feminism. espo.

D - just finished Journey into Russia by Post.
Set in the 60's Soviet era.

He was shocked by how brainwashed the masses were about America.

He quoted General Gunther.
That he thought "damned English" was just one word for the longest time.

Then Post mentioned the adjective-noun or noun-noun compound nouns (not noun phrases) that were invariably invoked by Soviets.
War-mongering imperialists.
Heroic labour.
And so on.

The term war-mongering ... labour, or Soviets, et al would make no sense.
When the two words together make sense, but apart do not, I'd argue that we might as well have them portrayed as a single concept.
heroic-labour. heroiclabour.

D - why is this interesting?
It is the opposite of the type of propaganda that Noam Chomsky discusses.
He spoke of high-level single word abstracts muddying the waters of clear thought.
E.g. democracy. Versus 'popular representation'.
What we see in Rush's passage is the opposite. By connecting 2 or 3 terms into a compound noun, we find that the potential nuance and diversity those words ought to be able to portray is lost.
E.g. cowardly labour.
E.g. pacifistic imperialism.

I took liberal arts in the 90s - the heyday of political correctness.
I have remained highly sensitive to feminism and its attempt to control language.

A noun phrase stands in place any number of complex and nuanced issues.
The wage gap.
Male violence.
Though to be fair to C, equality is one of the most over-used and least helpful terms.
It reminds me of online lingo. Free... as in beer?

I see a billboard on the way to work each day. For December - the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre - somebody put up an awareness ad.
It talked about how men weren't getting involved enough.
Which seems terribly rich, given that they have been excluded from any number of memorial events and feminist locations, such as Womyn Centres on campuses.
Anyway, let's break down the term "male violence".
My observation about the importance of a brief and powerful preposition system, likely derived from the Somali system, for CVN applies here.

Male violence. Noun noun. (This will resemble my example of space man earlier.)
Here, converting them into phrases with prepositions is useful.
Violence ... for males. By males? To males? From males? With?
Inter or intra male violence? To males, to non-males?
Contrast with black violence, that would raise hackles.
In Toronto right now, it would likely be interpreted as concern for black victims of homicide. The Sun is terribly upset that they are dying in droves.
Most of the killers are also black. So black violence as a term could potentially be applied to the offender versus victim quality. But that would not be P-C.
Or female violence, which would get shoe-horned into woman-as-victim format, though the structure is identical to the opposite implication for male.

So let us revisit the terms again, with the idea of embedded prepositions or perhaps a prefix to denote more nuance.
Male violence. Intra-male. Inter-male. Inter - to males? by males?
After all the term could logically be as much a reference to how males are the main victims of violence. Also, of course, perpetrators. That's OK to say about males -just one gender mind you. Again, if we swap out gender for race (at least some), we have the opposite inferred meaning and an entirely different meme script kicks in.

I mention the wage gap since I posted a fairly minor FaceBook entry on it once.
36 hours later, and 100 posts of flame-war nature, mutual friends were calling each other Nazis and suggesting the other side supported genocide. Really. It was surreal.

Something we learned in university was the idea of operationalizing terms.
What do we mean by that? How do we measure it?
Qualify, quantify.
Of course, with propaganda of any type, this attempt at intelligent discussion will be still-born.
The discussion is not allowed to progress that far.

Male violence. Female violence?
BTW - male doesn't even denote just human. Male dogs? Cats?
Men? Boys too?
White violence? Black?
How about Christian violence? Islamic?
Straight? Gay? Bi? The list goes on.

I'd love if somebody would make a study showing tacit assumptions by subjects when these various terms are used.

My language design CVN will include very brief indicators of prefix (inter, intra) and prepositional (by, to) nature.


And Espo's failure! I spent a coupla minutes trying to find the word 'belsono'.
Gradually, I realized I should not look for belson-. Though there was no way for me to know that until I knew both bel- and son- for pretty and sound respectively. I only knew one at that point.
Similarly, syllable forms such as CCV and VCC are permitted.
So if we have 2 adjacent syllables of CVC CVC construction,
we have no way to tell if we are looking at:
1) CVCC VC or
2) CV CCVC or
Though particular phoneme sequences may constrain this sometimes.
Point is, we're looking at the result of a mechanistic, mindless, 'clockwork morphology' loosely based on natural language.
I'd be wise to heed my own advice. The presence of both long and short vowels in CVN will result in EFLers trying to apply English-only rules to both pronunciation and stress.

Espo correlatives.

What kind -kia. Tia.
What place - kie. Tie.

D - yet the -a ending means adjective (-ly).
And -e ending means adverb! (-ily).
So kind ... adjective.
But place ... adverb!
Point is, Dr. Z did not think through this too far.
This dual use of certain endings (and word combos in other cases) is bound to trip up
those who are not fluent.
Given that the language tries to sell itself on being user-friendly, this is a serious indictment.

Instead, Espo could have more methodically used endings.
E.g. -a -e,i,o,u always meaning the same thing.
Ditto -an -en -in.
And for that matter -a, -an, -am, -ang.
Voila. And we get... CVN!

dementia and language loss

Dementia is already an isolating disorder. But it becomes even more complicated because patients, with their memories collapsing back to childhood, often lose their ability to speak English if they learned the language later in life. In a nation where the incidence of dementia is expected to double in the next 30 years to one million people – and in which 20 per cent of an aging population has a mother tongue other than English or French – that means a huge strain on families looking for good care, and will require a radical shift in the country’s health-care.

D - my oma died about a year or two back.
My sis wanted to introduce oma to the most recent addition to the family - my sis's second daughter. Oma had been in a retirement home for many years, and was suffering from severe dementia.
She didn't know who we were. She forgot that at 98 she had spoken English since the end of WWII - half her life. She didn't understand the baby she was holding was her own great grandchild - though I think she was happy about that nonetheless.
She died shortly thereafter. I was glad to have seen her one last time.

D - learning a second childhood language has yet another benefit.
Should dementia set it, it increases the chance that caretakers will be able to communicate effectively. This is a strong argument for immersion into one's new nation if one is an immigrant.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

canada and rate of full bilingualism

The true number, said Jean-Pierre Corbeil, is 5.4 million — or 17% of the population — and not the scant 125,000 cited in the editorial I had penned on the national front to castigate a piece of legislation before the Senate that would require all future judges on the Supreme Court of Canada to be bilingual.

D: if we're just restricting judge candidates to the 5mil- about 1 in 6 of us - that is noo elitist.
I am all about giving Quebec all the symbolic BS they want.
It's cheaper than money.
Canada is of 2 minds. Quebec sees us as 2 nations in the bosom of 1 state.
The rest of Canada sees us as a collection of egalitarian provinces.
Everybody tends to ignore the native issue.

Anyway, this stat shows how difficult true dual-first-languages is to obtain.
I imagine it almost requires 2 minds in one brain.
What a nice analogy for Canada.

motherese. baby attuned to mom's voice

The brain signals also revealed that while the infants did react to other women's voices, these sounds only activated the voice recognition parts of the brains. "This is exciting research that proves for the first time that the newborn's brain responds strongly to the mother's voice and shows, scientifically speaking, that the mother's voice is special to babies,"

D: I explored a language idea cally Babyese.
Basically, the phonemes and syllable forms grow to express nuance.
For example, at the start, all men are daddee.

It was inspired by lifeform naming conventions and a taxonomic language approach.
Clearly, my appreciation for this was felt in Lang53/LangX.
Though, again, I think their linear mechanistic approach to reintroducing phonemes is simplistic. Plus skipping over tonemes makes no sense at later stages.
Sorry guys.

I'm having some trouble finding the particular wayback machine site.
Anyway, geocities, at dinosnider666,