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“I Know What You're Thinking, Dave”

Pardon me, but does anyone else find this a tad bit creepy? Scientists at Washington University in the US have created a computer program that can translate your thoughts into written language. Yes, computers are on the verge of being able to read our minds.

The researchers took a brain implant currently used by neurologists to determine which areas of the brain are responsible for seizures in people with epilepsy, and reprogrammed it to pick up the brainwaves produced when we think of certain sounds. For this study, just four vowel sounds were used. When test subjects thought of the sound, the appropriate letter would appear on the computer screen, no typing necessary. Read more

English Across the Pond

English: Across the Pond.

When you consider the differences between the United States and Britain, it’s not hard to conclude that they are, ultimately, much the same. While there is 3,000 or so miles separating these tiny Isles in Northern Europe from the vast continent of the North Americas physically, it’s merely a drop in the ocean in most ways. Read more

Losing Language

“Poetry is just the evidence of life.  If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash”.

This is a quotation of the artist Leonard Cohen which points out the necessity of poetry. It is the same for language. Humans need to talk and share between us but for this, reading literature is very useful. Aristotle said:

“Man is by nature a political animal”.

This means that Humans want to live in society and to develop social relationships with other citizens.

Language, in the strict sense of the term, allows us to communicate but literature and poetry allow us to embellish it. Classical language is losing its value and giving way to the modern. This is represented by mobiles and Internet language, for example “LOL” or “OMG” (oh my God).

Two main reasons can explain losing a language. The first fundamental reason is Time Acceleration: we live more quickly than before and we have less and less time to live. That is why we use abbreviations languages and news means of communication (SMS, SKYPE, FACEBOOK, TWITTER etc.). Paradoxically, people lives much more quickly but spend more time behind the TV! Time Acceleration can also cause other reasons such as Modern Technology and News means of communication. As I said above, Internet and Mobile phones caused the weakening of language even if we need it to work and to communicate .It would be difficult to do without it… Read more

A Gaijin in Tokyo

A Gaijin in Tokyo

In our last article, Alison noted how lazy we Brits are when it comes to getting a handle on the native language when preparing to travel abroad. From my own experience I’ve seen just how extensive this can be and I’m guilty as charged.

In both 2011 and 2012 I travelled to Tokyo for a combined total of 5 weeks. As a generally reserved chap, I wanted to try and make sure that I could be polite and avoid any basic cultural faux pas. So I learnt how to say “please”, “thank you”, “excuse me” & gave myself a crash course in Japanese numeracy and most important of all, ensured I could order a beer. A bit of light reading from a guide book and off I went.
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