Saturday, August 8, 2015

A Commonality Among Languages?

At MIT's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Professor Edward Gibson and two grad students, Kyle Mahowalk and Richard Futrell, have been looking for links between all languages. The billions of people on Earth use 6500 different languages, all having a distinct sound and meaning structures (and different alphabets!). However, Gibson, Mahowalk, and Futrell think rather than sound or meaning, languages may share an organizational method. All languages seem to put words that go together close together. In other words, and from what I understand, all languages put describers and modifiers close to the word they affect, so language syntax may have a link. 

Cathleen O'Grady in her article 'MIT claims to have found a "language universal" that ties all languages together' posted this two days ago at Ars Technica. Huffington Post has a video interview with Edward Gibson, PhD. on the findings of the study.

While this isn't much help to my learning Russian words and tenses, it might be helpful when I start putting the words I'm learning into some meaningful utterance. But hey, no hurry, I'm still stuck on the alphabet.


  1. Very interesting. I've been researching an idea for a story around language and this fits right in with where I'm looking to drive the story. :)

  2. Hi Mark! Words and language fascinate me. Glad someone else found it interesting.