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  • August 10, 2012
  • 12:39 AM

Human capital on the move

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

The labour market integration of migrants presents a persistent conundrum. The Australian story – as that of other migrant destinations – is largely told as a success story: the skilled migration program with its focus on bringing human capital into … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • July 31, 2012
  • 12:40 PM

We Won. They Lost.

by Melanie Tannenbaum in PsySociety

A slightly different version of this post (pertaining to college basketball) was originally blogged at IonPsych on 3/29/2011. I’ve decided to re-post it from the archives today with some tweaks in honor of the Olympic Games. You can see the … Continue reading →... Read more »

Cialdini, R.B., Borden, R. J., Thorne, A., Walker, M.R., Freeman, S., & Sloan, L.R. (1976) Basking in reflected glory: Three (football) field studies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 34(3), 366-375. DOI: 10.1037//0022-3514.34.3.366  

Newman ML, Pennebaker JW, Berry DS, & Richards JM. (2003) Lying words: predicting deception from linguistic styles. Personality , 29(5), 665-75. PMID: 15272998  

  • July 24, 2012
  • 02:22 AM

Home is where I’m alienated*

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

To be transnational has become rather fashionable: never before in human history have so many people been on the move, airfares have never been so cheap, new communication technologies have never been so, well, new, and space and time have … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • June 26, 2012
  • 07:50 PM

Shopping while bilingual can make you sick

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

I’ve just found an e-mail from Apple in my spam folder with a ‘personal’ invitation to attend one of their new store openings in Sydney. I’m not going for two reasons: first, Apple has not yet done anything to improve … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • June 24, 2012
  • 09:46 PM

Some bilingualisms are more equal than others

by Sara Blažić in Language on the Move

Bilingualism has been a media darling of late, and considering the intense focus of the current scientific community on bilingual brains and the breakneck speed with which globalized societies interact, it’s no surprise. The results of neurological and psychological research … Continue reading →... Read more »

Poulin-Dubois D, Blaye A, Coutya J, & Bialystok E. (2011) The effects of bilingualism on toddlers' executive functioning. Journal of experimental child psychology, 108(3), 567-79. PMID: 21122877  

  • June 15, 2012
  • 12:06 PM

Why We (Accidentally) Name Babies for Hurricanes

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

In the year after Hurricane Katrina made a toilet bowl out of New Orleans, baby names starting with "K" went up by nine percent. Why would new parents want to commemorate the costliest natural disaster in American history? It wasn't their fault, researchers say: The sounds we hear most often stick with us, and we end up bestowing them on our children.

Jonah Berger, a professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, led a study of baby name popularity that will be pu........ Read more »

Jonah Berger, Eric Bradlow, Alex Braunstein, & Yao Zhang. (2012) From Karen to Katie: Using Baby Names to Understand Cultural Evolution. Psychological Science. info:/

  • June 11, 2012
  • 04:36 AM

The crayola-fication of the world: How we gave colors names, and it messed with our brains (part II)

by aatishb in Empirical Zeal

Lately, I’ve got colors on the brain. In part I of this post I talked about the common roads that different cultures travel down as they name the colors in their world. And I came across the idea that color names are, … Continue reading →... Read more »

Regier, T., & Kay, P. (2009) Language, thought, and color: Whorf was half right. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 13(10), 439-446. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2009.07.001  

Gilbert AL, Regier T, Kay P, & Ivry RB. (2006) Whorf hypothesis is supported in the right visual field but not the left. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103(2), 489-94. PMID: 16387848  

Franklin A, Drivonikou GV, Clifford A, Kay P, Regier T, & Davies IR. (2008) Lateralization of categorical perception of color changes with color term acquisition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(47), 18221-5. PMID: 19015521  

  • June 5, 2012
  • 05:06 PM

The crayola-fication of the world: How we gave colors names, and it messed with our brains (part I)

by aatishb in Empirical Zeal

“Who in the rainbow can draw the line where the violet tint ends and the orange tint begins? Distinctly we see the difference of the colors, but where exactly does the one first blendingly enter into the other? So with … Continue reading →... Read more »

Regier T, Kay P, & Khetarpal N. (2007) Color naming reflects optimal partitions of color space. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(4), 1436-41. PMID: 17229840  

Brent Berlin, & Paul Kay. (1991) Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution 1969 (Reprint). Center for the Study of Language and Information. info:/

  • June 5, 2012
  • 09:51 AM

Evolve a Band Name!

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Me and my band are looking for a new name. It's a tough decision: we need one that's clear and catchy. If only there was a process that took some names and made them more easily learnable. Wait, what about Iterated Learning? Click here to participate in our Band Name experiment. It takes about two minutes.... Read more »

  • June 3, 2012
  • 06:40 PM

Gay men, English and desire in Bangkok

by Shih-Wei Cheng in Language on the Move

I have recently begun working on my MA thesis on sexuality and second language learning at the Graduate School of English, Assumption University of Thailand, under the supervision of Kimie Takahashi. She has encouraged me to share my experience in … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • May 22, 2012
  • 01:56 AM

Linguistics and Archaeology in North America

by teofilo in Gambler's House

The same special issue of the journal World Archaeology that I was discussing in the previous post has an article looking specifically at the relationship between linguistic and archaeological evidence in the study of the prehistory of North America. It is by M. Dale Kinkade and J. V. Powell, two linguists who specialized in the languages [...]... Read more »

Kinkade, M., & Powell, J. (1976) Language and the prehistory of North America. World Archaeology, 8(1), 83-100. DOI: 10.1080/00438243.1976.9979654  

  • May 21, 2012
  • 09:41 PM

What would you do?

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Caroline Tennant Kelly with two of her photos from the Cherbourg Aboriginal Settlement (Source: Sydney Morning Herald at In 1924 the first university Department of Anthropology in Australia was founded at the University of Sydney. The founding professor was … Continue reading →... Read more »

Kidd, Rosalind. (1997) The Way We Civilise: Aboriginal Affairs - the untold story. University of Queensland Press. info:/

  • May 14, 2012
  • 09:19 PM

Is bilingualism impolite?

by Hanna Torsh in Language on the Move

I’m chatting in English to a medical student from Germany who is visiting Sydney, Australia, and we’ve already talked about how I lived in Germany for a while and speak German. In the middle of a chat about which part … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • May 11, 2012
  • 12:43 PM

Having more children affects your basic word order

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

The basic word order of your langauge (SOV or SVO) predicts the number of children you have.... Read more »

Sean Roberts, & James Winters. (2012) Constructing Knowledge: Nomothetic approaches to language evolution. Five Approaches to Language Evolution: Proceedings of the Workshops of the 9th International Conference on the Evolution of Language. info:/

Gell-Mann, M., & Ruhlen, M. (2011) The origin and evolution of word order. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(42), 17290-17295. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1113716108  

  • May 10, 2012
  • 07:43 PM

Dating the origin of language?

by sahelanthropus in EvoAnth

I could write an introduction the explains how fundamentally important language is but I have a feeling I’d be telling you nothing new. Our spoken language forms the basis of co-operation and is one of the most obvious differences between us and chimps (along with bipedality and a lack of fur). The obvious importance of … Continue reading »... Read more »

  • May 1, 2012
  • 02:45 PM

Visualising language similarities without trees

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Gerhard Jäger uses lexostatistics to demonstrate that language similarities can be computed without using tree-based representations. On the way, he automatically derives a tree of phoneme similarity directly from word lists. The result is an alternative and intuitive look at how languages are related.... Read more »

Bakker, D., Müller, A., Velupillai, V., Wichmann, S., Brown, C., Brown, P., Egorov, D., Mailhammer, R., Grant, A., & Holman, E. (2009) Adding typology to lexicostatistics: A combined approach to language classification. Linguistic Typology, 13(1), 169-181. DOI: 10.1515/LITY.2009.009  

  • April 30, 2012
  • 04:03 PM

Math Shows Today's Writers Are Less Influenced by the Past

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

When Charles Dickens wrote It was the of, it was the of, the immortal first words in A Tale of Two Cities, he can't have imagined that 21st-century computer scientists would parse his prepositions and pronouns as part of vast literary data sets. But today's researchers are studying the unimportant words in books to find important literary trends. With the meaty words taken out, language becomes a numbers game.

To see how literary styles evolve over time--a science dubbed "stylometr........ Read more »

James M. Hughes, Nicholas J. Foti, David C. Krakauer, & Daniel N. Rockmore. (2012) Quantitative patterns of stylistic influence in the evolution of literature. PNAS. info:/10.1073/pnas.1115407109

  • April 27, 2012
  • 09:49 AM

Yiman does not have a word for ‘massacre’

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Memorial to Yiman leader Bilba at Wallumbilla (Source: Goodbye Bussamarai) On October 27, 1857, a group of Aboriginal Australians, members of a group known as Yiman carried out a massacre: they attacked Hornet Bank Station, a newly-established large sheep run … Continue reading →... Read more »

Reid, Gordon. (1982) A Nest of Hornets: The Massacre of the Fraser Family at Hornet Bank Station, Central Queensland, 1857, and Related Events. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. info:/

  • April 23, 2012
  • 05:29 AM

The Roles of Linguistics and Archaeology

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Sorry for the extended hiatus; I’ve been busy with various things. I’ll have more on the Mississippians at some point, but for now I want to  discuss a more general issue: the relationship of historical linguistics to archaeology in attempting to reconstruct past events. Both disciplines provide ways to study past events beyond the reach [...]... Read more »

  • April 20, 2012
  • 05:12 AM

Globalisation and nationalism

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Many things have changed in Australia since I first came here in the mid-1990s. One of these is a noticeable increase in displays of national ardour: for instance, there is the ever-expanding flag-waving and display of the national colours on … Continue reading →... Read more »

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