A highlight from Prof. Ted Gibson, Professor of Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

But compared thank. You think you were having me. Thanks for doing this. I want to start with one of your papers entitled Shades human language invitation sign supplies tools and perspectives to study human language recently. Exciting body of work has examined linguistics nominee through the lens of efficiency in usage What otherwise puzzling. Features of language find explanation formula and formula cones and language might be optimized for communication and learning. This is a very interesting idiot for me. I know nothing about languages per se but Involved computer languages and Often wondered You know. I grew up in south india with the different completely different language whenever screwing up and then came to the us Picked up english out in these languages are completely different and the complexity Is also quite different. So i often wondered language. You bald it just to set the context that a homeland we just you have something like six thousand when they're depending on how you count Different typologies will say something between six to seven thousand different languages. It's hard to say what counts language. Exactly but because there's a lot of closely related dialects languages which might be counted as languages or might not be counted as separate languages. There's on the order of seven six seven thousand From at least two hundred fifty to two hundred distinct families where we across those families we see no connections. There's no historical connection whatsoever between any of those. Of course there must be. There probably is some connection between those just further back than we can measure So there's like there's no measurable connection between any of them. There's no historical connection between those hundred and fifty two hundred and there is no measurable Connection in terms of the words that they currently use or the forms they currently use Which are related at all though so a lot of carry around the world's languages but so so two hundred or so sort of templates That coke human seem to have used to inspect these but if he if you look at it mathematically do be fine trucks. Any sort of startles him that it is a doll or look completely this well they first of all when i say there's around two hundred of these families we keep in mind that one of those families to something called indo european and so the language isn't that Within that family we understand how they're all connected more historically so those include language like you probably are native languages. I don't know if that's hindi or fits What is your native. Language is so might minus the gradient bank skuld money on which is automation of sense the and sands could i think would be indo european in each day and i think sanskrit than german share lot of commonality. So there's but just the my my point was going to be that Even though they may be in the same family there's an enormous variability within within a single family so the european includes hindi includes I get well obviously includes all germanic languages including german and and includes the romance languages it includes know includes an enormous durability in there. I don't know how many indo european languages there are. But on the order of one hundred and so they're very Those are related related languages at some level and you know some are closer than others. So of course in languages like spanish and portuguese or pretty close. An english and german are actually reasonably close in german and dutch or even closer. But you know it seems like The the languages is actually in mainland india. Kind of a little further away. But they're still within the same family and even so there's thousand languages all around the world from around around two hundred of these of these families which hold a lot of variability. Now your question was are they all arbitrarily different The answer is you know. Almost certainly know. There's a lot of similarities in certain ways across a across languages and we've been explored. My group has been exploring that and many people actually now. Many researchers in the last fifteen years ten fifteen years have been exploring that the similarity across languages through the lens of information theory. And so we look at Well i should say what language is.

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