How does your brain pick one word from 50,000 in 0.6 seconds?

A Bangor University expert believes the constant battle for prominence between words like “cat” and “dog” could help to explain.

Dr Gary Oppenheim, of the university’s Language Production Lab, is working to reveal the “algorithms and architectures” behind vocabulary.

So he has built a computer system which aims to mimic human word production and “learns as it speaks”.

“Humans talk a lot and we’re actually amazingly good at it,” Dr Oppenheim said.

“Often, we’re producing two or three words per second and speaking about 15,000 words in a given day, which is pretty amazing.

“So my question is how do we do this? Why are we so amazingly successful?”

Read more: BBC News

In A Turkish Village, A Conversation With Whistles, Not Words

In a remote mountain village high above Turkey’s Black Sea coast, there are villagers who still communicate across valleys by whistling. Not just whistling as in a non-verbal, “Hey, you!” But actually using what they call their “bird language,” Turkish words expressed as a series of piercing whistles.

The village is Kuskoy, and it’s inhabited by farmers who raise tea, corn, beets and other crops, and also keep livestock. The landscape is unusual by Turkish standards, and the residents are also considered a bit eccentric by other Turks.

Everyone we met in Kuskoy was warm, welcoming and very generous. But when our meeting with Nazmiye Cakir, 60, was interrupted by an eruption of gunfire from across the valley, our hosts smiled reassuringly and paused, as if waiting for more. Sure enough, a few seconds later came an even louder volley – a response from our side of the mountain.

Read more: NPR