I've been keeping busy lately, looking at some rather interesting grammatical facts about the Berber dialect of Ngousa (Ingusa) which I plan to talk about (among other things) at Paris in September. The vocabulary is also interesting; tiḥemẓin "couscous", for example, presumably somehow from timẓin "barley". However, a casual trawl of the news today revealed a surprising number of linguistics-related stories, which I thought I'd share:
Orangutans Play Charades When Misunderstood: For extra points, outline a scenario for the development of a fixed learned vocabulary from sufficiently frequent efforts in a small population to play this sort of charades.
Brain Responses in 4-Month-Old Infants Are Already Language Specific: 4-month-old German and French babies deal better with words stressed in accordance with the the laws of their soon-to-be-native language.
Parts, Wholes, and Context in Reading: A Triple Dissociation: "Do fast readers rely most on letter-by-letter decoding (i.e., recognition by parts), whole word shape, or sentence context? We manipulated the text to selectively knock out each source of information while sparing the others. Surprisingly, the effects of the knockouts on reading rate reveal a triple dissociation. Each reading process always contributes the same number of words per minute, regardless of whether the other processes are operating." I wonder whether this applies in other written languages or is a peculiarity of English.
And a little multimedia on an English regional dialect from the BBC: Pitmatic.