A Publication Reform is Needed

So true!

So why do people still publish books with the traditional commercial publishers, instead of just putting their works on their website, or making them available via sites like ResearchGate or The reason is not that this would benefit the readers – the reason is that it benefits the authors. What authors primarily get from the publishers is prestige, and this is the most urgent thing they need.

A proposal for radical publication reform in linguistics: Language Science Press, and the next steps

Explanatory Combinatorial Dictionary of Italian

Wenn ich es richtig verstehe, handelt es sich hierbei um ein Erklärend-Kombinatorisches Wörterbuch nach MelCuk:

Words are never used in isolation but in combination and not with any word but only with certain specific words. To use a language properly the appropriate combinations must be used. In Italian a piece of bread is a tozzo di pane, but is that the case for meat? Is a tozzo di carne an appropriate combination? If you want to make an appointment with somebody you should not say (as in English) fare un appuntamento but fissare un appuntamento. An Italian affronta una discussione (enters or tackles a discussion), but is it possible for him to say affrontare un’obiezione (to enter or tackle an objection)? Yes it is, as this dictionary shows. So every language has its own preferences in word combinations, misleading non-native speaker into making mistakes influenced by their own language.

Via John Benjamins

German is one of the ten weirdest languages in the world

Eine Gruppe von NLPlern hat die Sprachen der Welt auf die Häufigkeit bestimmte Phänomene und Strukturen hin untersucht und nun ein Ranking der Weirdest Languages aufgestellt: Sehr interessant und unterhaltsam!

The World Atlas of Language Structures evaluates 2,676 different languages in terms of a bunch of different language features. These features include word order, types of sounds, ways of doing negation, and a lot of other things—192 different language features in total.

So rather than take an English-centric view of the world, WALS allows us take a worldwide view. That is, we evaluate each language in terms of how unusual it is for each feature.

(gefunden bei Nerdcore)

Positive Effects of Immersion

The sense of immersion in role-play and computer games is sometimes viewed as dangerous, as players’ strong perceptions of fictional worlds are assumed to make them lose contact with reality. On the other hand, players’ immersion also implies a potential for improved learning, since it enables them to ‘experience’ new places and historical eras. Yet a new study from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, shows that immersion in online role-play games requires a lot of hard work.

Creativity and linguistic skills important for immersion in World of Warcraft

IBM: Big Data, Speech Processing and Machine Translation

For a machine to truly process speech data, it needs cognitive computing – a system with architecture that imitates how the human brain understands information. IBM Watson’s ability to understand natural language is just a first piece to a complex cognitive computing puzzle. But as cognitive computing is applied to Big Data, it will also revolutionize speech recognition and speech translation.

IBM Research: Dimitri Kanevsky Translating Big Data

Did language evolve out of bird songs?

Birdsong lacks a lexical structure. Instead, birds sing learned melodies with what Berwick calls a “holistic” structure; the entire song has one meaning, whether about mating, territory or other things. The Bengalese finch, as the authors note, can loop back to parts of previous melodies, allowing for greater variation and communication of more things; a nightingale may be able to recite from 100 to 200 different melodies.

MIT News: How human language could have evolved from birdsong

Electronic Lexicography Bibliography and Database

OBELEXmeta is an Online Bibliography of Electronic Lexicography Research literature,

OBELEXdict is a database which currently contains 17,000 entries for online dictionaries from all over the world. The aim is to provide a research tool, which will enable as many lexicographical resources as possible from all over the world to be found, organised according to content.