Bonus Round: Let’s Talk it Out

The Player 3 Blog

This is still kind of part of my series on fighting game problems, but since this post isn’t really about a problem, I’m considering it a Bonus Round.

I was inspired by a guest lecture in my FOSS class given by Cissi Ovesfotter Alm, a professor here at RIT.  She was speaking on the topic of Natural Language Processing, and the early bits of the lecture caused the strangest chain of events in my brain.  She said that conversations are cooperative, with both parties working to advance the conversation.  She also broke down language into its elements.  This initially got me thinking about dancing, particularly tango, mainly because of a friend of mine.  The artistry of partner dancing comes from cooperation, but on a technical level, everything a dancer does is a series of moves that can be broken into component parts.  But, how far is cooperation from conflict?  After…

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Language and Gender, ‘Mr, ‘Mrs’, ‘Ms’ and ‘Miss’

Kate Mitchell

I recently carried out a survey on what the various titles for men and women meant to individuals.

The survey questioned what they believed the titles for male and female, married and unmarried characters in the scenario should be.

One of my findings was that older people, male and female find the term ‘Ms’ to be used for an older, single female. The term ‘Ms’ would be used by this generation if it is their professional name or if the term ‘Miss’ seems too young for them, thus making it incorrect.

I believe that this is due to the fact that when these participants grew up young women were called ‘Miss’ more often. This is due to the fact that when these participants attended school, there was higher formality and the teacher would often address the children as ‘Miss’. This would therefore make the term seem as though it is associated…

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More men speaking in girls’ ‘dialect’, study shows


So take the plunge and try reading this out loud whilst increasing your pitch at the end of each line.uptalk picture



Boys follow girls, and yet they deny it,
in using their dialect.  Why don’t you try it?

Increase your pitch at the end of a line.
Sounds strange, don’t you think it’s just like a whine?

It’s supposed to show caring, that you empathise,
you’re at one with the listener as you look in his eyes.

But to some you seem ‘ditzy’, shallow or dim.
It may show insecurity, it appears to him,

when each statement’s a question phrased by the pitch
at the end of each sentence, that falsetto glitch.

It’s the ‘uptalk’ of girls in California
and the far distant shores of Australia,

It’s derogatorily known as ‘village girl’ speak
when your tone sharply ascends at the end to a peak.

Next time you hear…

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Mark Pagel: How language transformed humanity

  • Language is a powerful trait, which resulted from natural selection.
  • It allows people to implant thoughts from one mind to someone else’s.
  • Language relies on pulses of sound – speak using a form of telemetry.
  • Language alters setting from the brain to suit interests.
  • Language is the talking of genes.
  • It can change all the things around us.
  • Cultural adaptation – humans have prospered as we can make the things of life.
  • 200,000 years ago – acquired social learning – beginning of our story – social and evolutionary dilemma that changed the course of the world.
  • Social learning is visual theft – steal someone’s best ideas – benefit from other people’s efforts.
  • When confronted with this problem, humans could have retreated into smaller family groups and share benefits within relative groups. However, this would have made the evolutionary path rather short. So, instead a system of communication to share ideas was created.
  • Not having language would be like having a bird without wings – the world would not function properly.
  • We are utterly dependant on language.
  • Language helps put ideas together and co-operate = prosperity.
  • Language is the most potent trait that has ever evolved.
  • There are thousands of languages, which naturally diverge.
  • Papa New Guinea is the most tightly packed country of languages – there is a different language every 2 or 3 miles.
  • Different languages slow the flow between groups.
  • Modern world can communicate better than ever before as a result of language.
  • Globalisation can create a burden though – different languages impose a barrier to co-operation. For example, the European Union has 27 countries, which speak 23 different languages. It spends over £1 billion annually translating between countries. 

English articles (definite and indefinite articles)

Learn Teach English


There are some things you need to remember about the pronunciation of articles. ‘A’ is used before consonant sounds and ‘an’ is used before vowel sounds. You need to listen to the sound, not just look at the spelling. So we say: ‘An effect’ and ‘an FBI agent’ because both start with the sound /e/. We say: ‘A yellow submarine’ and ‘a European’ because both start with /j/.

There are two ways to pronounce ‘the’. 90% of the time we say: /ðə/. In some exceptional cases we pronounce ‘the’ as ‘thee'( /ði:/ ).




Advanced points for definite and indefinite articles:Image

Classes (formal):

The tiger is threatened with extinction.

To name a work by an artist:

My mother found a  Salvador Dali in the attic.

National groups:

The Irish are known to be great writers and drinkers.

In measurements ‘a/an’ can be used instead of ‘per’:

If petrol costs €1 a…

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Mixed Sex Conversations – Research

Komilla Chadha

Mixed sex conversations
Class Research
What did we do?
Two females and makes were selected to go outside the classroom. Meanwhile our teacher handed us sheets where we ticked what linguistic features we observed.  Then the first male and female speaker was called in and told to have a conversation in front of the class. After monitoring their conversation they were given a sheet to observe the second couples conversation.
What was the point?
We were trying to see which gender uses which features the most.
What were my results?
Female Speaker
Male Speaker
Hedge (sort of, kind of)
Polite form
Tag question (isn’t it?)
Peaking (intonational emphasis)
Question initiator/prompt
//// ////
Swear word
Empty adjective (sweet, lovely)
Intensifier (really, absolutely)
Direct quotation
Specialised vocabulary (descriptions of colour)
High rise terminal (statements sounding like…

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Language & Power

Language & Power

Language and power? Language is power? The power of language? And what do we mean when we talk about “language” and “power”? These and other (interesting) questions will be the focus of this blog, edited by my students and me for our module “IT3LP – Language and Power” in Italian Studies at Reading. Follow us, send us comments, engage in our discussions. Maybe we will not be able to provide all the answers, but we will definitely try to pose some challenging questions…

Federico Faloppa – Lecturer in Italian Linguistics – Modern Languages @ Reading

PS: please find below a link to a useful introductory clip on “Language”, “Power”, “Discourse analysis“. Enjoy!

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Phonological Errors: What they tell us about aphasia, language processing and linguistic universals


Phonological Errors: What they tell us about aphasia, language processing and linguistic universals


Research Seminar at the University of Reading, 01/11/13

Speaker: Cristina Romani, Aston University (UK)


Diagnosing phonological impairment and apraxia of speech (AoS) is problematic. This is due to high co-occurrence of phonological and phonetic errors in aphasics.

Phonological impairments are difficulty in selecting and ordering phonological forms for words, which patients are sometimes unaware of. On the surface such errors are deletions, substitutions, transpositions and insertions of phonemes; there can also be a lack of muscle tone.

AoS is a motor planning speech disorder where patients access the correct phonological forms but cannot articulate them; as such it is characterized by inherently phonetic errors. These are distortion of sounds and floundering for phonemes with noticeable effort. Patients are aware of their speech impairments and muscle tone remains intact. In clinical practice it is important…

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