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[forteana] Secrets of language

From:Barbara Barrett <barbarabarrett@...>
Date:Friday, February 6, 2004, 13:04
----- Original Message -----

>,3604,1137515,00.html > > Brain scan sheds light on secrets of speech > > How do we suck meaning from intonation? How do we disentangle multiple > meanings? Science is getting closer > > Ian Sample, science correspondent > Tuesday February 3, 2004 > The Guardian > > Scientists trying to unravel the workings of the human brain have
> for the first time how it plucks speech from other noises, breaks it down > and works out more than just the meaning of the words. > As Britain's research councils launch a push to understand what makes
> master communicators, the results so far are startling. > What has stumped researchers over the years is how we are so good at > language and are able to convey and perceive information not just using > words, but with more subtle devices such as intonation and rhythm. > "There's nothing else like human speech in nature. As well as the > information carried by the words, you can tell someone's mood, their
> their age and where they may come from. It's amazing," said Sophie Scott,
> expert in speech neurobiology at University College London. > Among the big guns rolled out by researchers to crack the mystery of human > language is the brain scanning technique, functional magnetic resonance > imaging (fMRI). Able to take snapshots of brain activity, fMRI gives an > unprecedented insight into the inner workings of the brain. > Using fMRI Dr Scott has shown that the brain takes speech and separates it > into words and "melody" - the varying intonation in speech that reveals > mood, gender and so on. Her studies suggest words are then shunted over to > the left temporal lobe for processing, while the melody is channelled to
> right side of the brain, a region more stimulated by music. > ... > The language of emails is also under intense scrutiny from researchers. > Scientists at Edinburgh University analysed thousands of emails from
> who filled in personality questionnaires and found tell-tale signs that > reveal how extrovert or neurotic you are. Neurotics were more likely to > indulge in multiple use of exclamation marks or use "..." in their emails. > They also showed a more erratic use of commas and adverbs. Starting a > sentence with the word 'well' was also common among neurotics. Jon > Oberlander, the Edinburgh University scientist running the research, has > developed a "style checker" that can be used to check emails before they
> sent out. "You can run your email through this and it can suggest > expressions that might help portray you in a better light," he said. >


Philippe Caquant <herodote92@...>