Nearly every language and every culture has what are called “filled pauses,” a notoriously difficult-to-define concept that generally refers to sounds or words that a speaker uses when, well, not exactly speaking. In American English, the most common are “uh” and “um.” Until about 20 years ago, few linguists paid filled pauses much attention. They.. read more →

The motley section of the Slator website is Industry News, where we feature a diverse array of language industry news stories that go beyond the more narrow focus of categories like M&A and Funding, People Moves, Technology, or Demand Drivers. From policy shifts in government, private sector reorganizations, to legal battles, this is our recap of.. read more →

Babies’ ability to soak up language makes them the envy of adult learners everywhere. Still, some grown-ups can acquire new tongues with surprising ease. Now some studies suggest it is possible to predict a person’s language-learning abilities from his or her brain structure or activity-results that may eventually be used to help even the most.. read more →

Close your eyes, and you can’t guess her nationality. Lu Qiyu’s English is meticulous, sculpted over years of careful study. Though it remains slightly accented, the merest hint of a twang is difficult to place. Switch to Mandarin, however, and her southern Chinese accent emerges. In China, “north” and “south” are universally recognized as highly distinct.. read more →

Do you ever feel like you just can’t move on to the next level with the language you’re learning? You put in tons of effort, but it just feels impossible to move off the plateau? You have a large vocabulary, and you understand a lot but when it comes to speaking, you keep wondering why.. read more →

There are more than a hundred of these geometric symbols. At first I tap at them like a monkey at a typewriter. Eventually I learn how to piece a few together to ask a question. Who are you? I administer this place. Where is everyone? They have gone up. Made by Grant Kuning, a developer.. read more →

Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto throws a white lab coat over her peach cardigan and grey skirt before giving a quick tour of the Brain & Language Laboratory for Neuroimaging at Gallaudet University, where she is the scientific director. The walls of the space, which includes an observation room, conference room and neuroimaging laboratory, are covered in.. read more →

When you are suddenly able to understand someone despite a thick accent, or finally make out the lyrics of a song, your brain seems to be re-tuning to pick out words that were previously incomprehensible. Now, neuroscientists at University of California, Berkeley have observed this re-tuning in action by recording directly from the surface of.. read more →

The naming of colors has long been a topic of interest in the study of human culture and cognition – revealing the link between perception, language, and the categorization of the natural world. A major question in the study of both anthropology and cognitive science is why the world’s languages show recurrent similarities in color.. read more →

(Editors’ note: Spoilers within.) The aliens’ written language moved in circles, each sentence lacking a defined beginning or end. The alien visitors seemed to view time in a similar manner: as a circular concept. Working to decode this mysterious language, accomplished human linguist Louise Banks-played in the sci-fi film Arrival by actress Amy Adams-begins to have visions.. read more →