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Het Talige Brein

The prediction paradox

In everyday language, you can sometimes anticipate a word so clearly that you can almost hear it before it has been said – for instance, “it’s raining cats and (…)”. In such cases, your mind seems to automatically fill in the blank. Intuitively, these mental predictions might seem important to help us understand language. But, in the language sciences, the role of prediction in language has always been controversial. To see why, we first need to understand a peculiar property of language itself.

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Kan taal ons laten zien?

Stel je eens een olifant voor. Een van die Afrikaanse olifanten. Grote oren die de schouders bedekken; een sterke, naar beneden hangende slurf; een paar prachtige ivoren slagtanden.

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Vooral kennis maakt weerbaar tegen een pandemie

Investeren in onderwijs en onderzoek is nodig om een pandemie of een andere crisis aan te kunnen, schrijft Peter Hagoort, Akademiehoogleraar Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen. 

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Are we egocentric when we speak?

In a conversation, we often take into account the knowledge of the other person. You will probably talk differently, less technically, to your family about your work or studies than to your colleagues. But do we take others into account in every situation? And do some people do this more often than others?

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Finding the positives in every negative

“To be, or not to be?” Who among us a few months ago could have dreamed the famous fictitious ruminations of that great Dane would carve themselves into our collective realities. Negativity is inescapable in the face of a global pandemic, and in these times, the famous question itself becomes inescapable. From the responsible citizen agonizing over whether or not to attend a social gathering, to the doctors and nurses deciding who gets the last ventilator, and who does not.

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Zijn we egocentrische sprekers?

In een gesprek houd je vaak rekening met wat de ander weet. Zo praat je waarschijnlijk anders, simpeler, tegen je familie over je werk of studie, dan tegen je collega’s. Maar doen we dat in elke situatie? En doen sommige mensen dit vaker dan anderen?

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Children’s language ability is derived from their parents who are good at communication

There is growing evidence to support that early childhood experience influences a child’s language comprehension and production ability by shaping how his/her brain grows and develops. It is important to understand which aspects of childhood experience are critical for a child’s language development.

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Improvising Babbler

Arguably, we are all masters of our first language(s). In many domains, improvisation is the showcase of ultimate mastery, no? Can we go the other way around and say that when using language we are constantly improvising? The author of this blog post certainly found this idea far-fetched at first. Here, we try to unpack the commonalities between musical improvisation and every-day speaking. Read along and learn what Johann Sebastian Bach, Anthony Hopkins, and Michael Jordan have in common.

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Can language make us see?

Can language make us see?

Imagine an elephant. One of those African bush elephants. Large ears covering its shoulders; a powerful trunk falling to the ground; a pair of magnificent ivory tusks.

Were you able to see it? If so, it is tempting to jump to a conclusion: Yes, language makes us see things we are not currently perceiving through our eyes. But does your mental picture of an elephant have anything to do with real vision? Here’s the answer.

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