Topic: Linguistics/Applied Linguistics
In the history of artificial intelligence, an AI winter is a period of reduced funding and interest in artificial intelligence research. The term was coined by analogy to the idea of a nuclear winter. The field has experienced several hype cycles, followed by disappointment and criticism, followed by funding cuts, followed by renewed interest years or decades later.
The term first appeared in 1984 as the topic of a public debate at the annual meeting of AAAI (then called the "American Association of Artificial Intelligence"). It is a chain reaction that begins with pessimism in the AI community, followed by pessimism in the press, followed by a severe cutback in funding, followed by the end of serious research. At the meeting, Roger Schank and Marvin Minsky—two leading AI researchers who had survived the "winter" of the 1970s—warned the business community that enthusiasm for AI had spiraled out of control in the 1980s and that disappointment would certainly follow. Three years later, the billion-dollar AI industry began to collapse.
Hype is common in many emerging technologies, such as the railway mania or the dot-com bubble. The AI winter was a result of such hype, due to over-inflated promises by developers, unnaturally high expectations from end-users, and extensive promotion in the media . Despite the rise and fall of AI's reputation, it has continued to develop new and successful technologies. AI researcher Rodney Brooks would complain in 2002 that "there's this stupid myth out there that AI has failed, but AI is around you every second of the day." In 2005, Ray Kurzweil agreed: "Many observers still think that the AI winter was the end of the story and that nothing since has come of the AI field. Yet today many thousands of AI applications are deeply embedded in the infrastructure of every industry."
Enthusiasm and optimism about AI has increased since its low point in the early 1990s. Beginning about 2012, interest in artificial intelligence (and especially the sub-field of machine learning) from the research and corporate communities led to a dramatic increase in funding and investment.
Cuisenaire rods are mathematics learning aids for students that provide an interactive, hands-on way to explore mathematics and learn mathematical concepts, such as the four basic arithmetical operations, working with fractions and finding divisors. In the early 1950s, Caleb Gattegno popularised this set of coloured number rods created by the Belgian primary school teacher Georges Cuisenaire (1891–1975), who called the rods réglettes.
According to Gattegno, "Georges Cuisenaire showed in the early 1950s that students who had been taught traditionally, and were rated ‘weak’, took huge strides when they shifted to using the material. They became 'very good' at traditional arithmetic when they were allowed to manipulate the rods."
- "Cuisenaire rods" | 2015-07-31 | 43 Upvotes 20 Comments
The word dord is a dictionary error in lexicography. It was accidentally created, as a ghost word, by the staff of G. and C. Merriam Company (now part of Merriam-Webster) in the New International Dictionary, second edition (1934). That dictionary defined the term a synonym for density used in physics and chemistry in the following way: "dord (dôrd), n. Physics & Chem. Density."
Philip Babcock Gove, an editor at Merriam-Webster who became editor-in-chief of Webster's Third New International Dictionary, wrote a letter to the journal American Speech, fifteen years after the error was caught, in which he explained how the "dord" error was introduced and corrected.
On 31 July 1931, Austin M. Patterson, the dictionary's chemistry editor, sent in a slip reading "D or d, cont./density." This was intended to add "density" to the existing list of words that the letter "D" can abbreviate. The phrase "D or d" was misinterpreted as a single, run-together word: Dord. This was a plausible mistake, because headwords on slips were typed with spaces between the letters, so "D or d" looked very much like "D o r d". The original slip went missing, so a new slip was prepared for the printer, which assigned a part of speech (noun) and a pronunciation. The would-be word was not questioned or corrected by proofreaders. The entry appeared on page 771 of the dictionary around 1934, between the entries for Dorcopsis (a type of small kangaroo) and doré (golden in color).
On 28 February 1939, an editor noticed "dord" lacked an etymology and investigated, discovering the error. An order was sent to the printer marked "plate change/imperative/urgent". The non-word "dord" was excised; "density" was added as an additional meaning for the abbreviation "D or d" as originally intended, and the definition of the adjacent entry "Doré furnace" was expanded from "A furnace for refining dore bullion" to "a furnace in which dore bullion is refined" to close up the space. Gove wrote that this was "probably too bad, for why shouldn't dord mean 'density'?" In 1940, bound books began appearing without the ghost word, although inspection of printed copies well into the 1940s show "dord" still present. The entry "dord" was not completely removed until 1947.
- "Dord" | 2019-03-03 | 24 Upvotes 1 Comments
A garden-path sentence is a grammatically correct sentence that starts in such a way that a reader's most likely interpretation will be incorrect; the reader is lured into a parse that turns out to be a dead end or yields a clearly unintended meaning. "Garden path" refers to the saying "to be led down [or up] the garden path", meaning to be deceived, tricked, or seduced. In A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, Fowler describes such sentences as unwittingly laying a "false scent".
Such a sentence leads the reader toward a seemingly familiar meaning that is actually not the one intended. It is a special type of sentence that creates a momentarily ambiguous interpretation because it contains a word or phrase that can be interpreted in multiple ways, causing the reader to begin to believe that a phrase will mean one thing when in reality it means something else. When read, the sentence seems ungrammatical, makes almost no sense, and often requires rereading so that its meaning may be fully understood after careful parsing.
"James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher" is an English sentence used to demonstrate lexical ambiguity and the necessity of punctuation, which serves as a substitute for the intonation,stress, and pauses found in speech. In human information processing research, the sentence has been used to show how readers depend on punctuation to give sentences meaning, especially in the context of scanning across lines of text. The sentence is sometimes presented as a puzzle, where the solver must add the punctuation.
It refers to two students, James and John, required by an English test to describe a man who had suffered from a cold in the past. John writes "The man had a cold", which the teacher marks incorrect, while James writes the correct "The man had had a cold". Since James's answer was right, it had had a better effect on the teacher.
The sentence is much easier to understand with added punctuation and emphasis:
James, while John had had "had", had had "had had"; "had had" had had a better effect on the teacher.
In each of the five "had had" word pairs in the above sentence, the first of the pair is in the past perfect form. The italicized instances denote emphasis of intonation, focusing on the differences in the students' answers, then finally identifying the correct one.
- "James while John had had had ... had had had a better effect on the teacher" | 2013-03-03 | 114 Upvotes 74 Comments
Linguistic purism in English is the preference for using words of native origin rather than foreign-derived ones. "Native" can mean "Anglo-Saxon" or it can be widened to include all Germanic words. Linguistic purism in English primarily focuses on words of Latinate and Greek origin, due to their prominence in the English language and the belief that they may be difficult to understand. In its mildest form, it merely means using existing native words instead of foreign-derived ones (such as using begin instead of commence). In a less mild form, it also involves coining new words from Germanic roots (such as wordstock for vocabulary). In a more extreme form, it also involves reviving native words which are no longer widely used (such as ettle for intend). The resulting language is sometimes called Anglish (coined by the author and humorist Paul Jennings), or Roots English (referring to the idea that it is a "return to the roots" of English). The mild form is often advocated as part of Plain English, but the more extreme form has been and is still a fringe movement; the latter can also be undertaken as a form of constrained writing.
English linguistic purism is discussed by David Crystal in the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. The idea dates at least to the inkhorn term controversy of the 16th and 17th centuries. In the 19th century, writers such as Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy and William Barnes advocated linguistic purism and tried to introduce words like birdlore for ornithology and bendsome for flexible. A notable supporter in the 20th century was George Orwell, who had a preference for plain Saxon words over complex Latin or Greek ones, and the idea continues to have advocates today.
- "Linguistic purism in English" | 2016-05-17 | 43 Upvotes 55 Comments
The hypothesis of linguistic relativity, part of relativism, also known as the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis , or Whorfianism is a principle claiming that the structure of a language affects its speakers' world view or cognition, and thus people's perceptions are relative to their spoken language.
The principle is often defined in one of two versions: the strong hypothesis, which was held by some of the early linguists before World War II, and the weak hypothesis, mostly held by some of the modern linguists.
- The strong version says that language determines thought and that linguistic categories limit and determine cognitive categories.
- The weak version says that linguistic categories and usage only influence thought and decisions.
The principle had been accepted and then abandoned by linguists during the early 20th century following the changing perceptions of social acceptance for the other especially after World War II. The origin of formulated arguments against the acceptance of linguistic relativity are attributed to Noam Chomsky.
- "The reason why Blub programmers have such a hard time picking up more powerful languages." | 2007-09-29 | 7 Upvotes 28 Comments
The following is a list of English-speaking population by country, including information on both native speakers and second-language speakers.
Some of the entries in this list are dependent territories (e.g.: U.S. Virgin Islands), autonomous regions (e.g.: Hong Kong) or associated states (e.g.: Cook Islands) of other countries, rather than being fully sovereign countries in their own right.
- "Today a greater percentage of Dutch people speak English than Canadians" | 2016-10-28 | 13 Upvotes 5 Comments
The revival of the Hebrew language took place in Europe and Palestine toward the end of the 19th century and into the 20th century, through which the language's usage changed from the sacred language of Judaism to a spoken and written language used for daily life in Israel. The process began as a diversity of Jews started arriving and establishing themselves alongside the pre-existing Jewish community in the region of Palestine in the first half of the nineteenth century, when veteran Jews in Palestine (largely Arabic-speaking by that time) and the linguistically diverse newly arrived Jews all switched to use Hebrew as a lingua franca, the historical linguistic common denominator of all the Jewish groups. At the same time, a parallel development in Europe changed Hebrew from primarily a sacred liturgical language into a literary language which played a key role in the development of nationalist educational programs. Modern Hebrew was one of three official languages of Mandatory Palestine, and after the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948, one of two official languages of Israel, along with Modern Arabic. In July 2018, a new law made Hebrew the sole official language of the state of Israel, with Arabic having "special status". More than purely a linguistic process, the revival of Hebrew was utilized by Jewish modernization and political movements, and became a tenet of the ideology associated with settlement of the land, Zionism and Israeli policy.
The process of Hebrew's return to regular usage is unique; there are no other examples of a natural language without any native speakers subsequently acquiring several million native speakers, and no other examples of a sacred language becoming a national language with millions of "first language" speakers.
The language's revival eventually brought linguistic additions with it. While the initial leaders of the process insisted they were only continuing "from the place where Hebrew's vitality was ended", what was created represented a broader basis of language acceptance; it includes characteristics derived from all periods of Hebrew language, as well as from the non-Hebrew languages used by the long-established European, North African, and Middle Eastern Jewish communities, with Yiddish (the European variant) being predominant.
The Shavian alphabet (also known as the Shaw alphabet) is an alphabet conceived as a way to provide simple, phonetic orthography for the English language to replace the difficulties of conventional spelling. It was posthumously funded by and named after Irish playwright Bernard Shaw. Shaw set three main criteria for the new alphabet: it should be (1) at least 40 letters; (2) as "phonetic" as possible (that is, letters should have a 1:1 correspondence to phonemes); and (3) distinct from the Latin alphabet to avoid the impression that the new spellings were simply "misspellings".
- "Shavian alphabet" | 2018-08-26 | 108 Upvotes 113 Comments