expectlabs writes: How can four tones of one word create a complete narrative? “Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den” was written by Chao Yuen Ren, a contemporary Chinese American linguist who wrote the poem as an argument against the idea of converting Classical Chinese into a phonetic system. In the poem, the sound of each syllable is “shi,” with each “shi” marked by one of the four Mandarin tones (“sh,” “shí,” “sh,” and “shì”). Since Mandarin is a tonal language, one syllable can be pronounced in many ways, with each pronunciation producing completely different meanings. The context within each phrase also makes the possible meanings for a single syllable even larger. Chao Yuen Ren’s poem is not only an impressive feat of constrained writing, but also one of the best tongue twisters we’ve ever encountered.
expectlabs writes: When you hear a language that you don’t speak, it usually sounds like it’s speeding by at an incomprehensible rate. Researchers from the Université de Lyon decided to find out once and for all why certain languages sound so much faster than others. For the study, 59 native speakers of English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish, and Vietnamese, were instructed to read the following passage out loud in each of their native languages:
expectlabs writes: MindMeld heightened our State of the Union experience last night by making the President’s speech more productive and interactive. With the help of our app, we were able to fact-check in real-time, and have a more thorough understanding of what the President was talking about. To learn how you can get your hands on MindMeld, click here.
expectlabs writes: Twitter now has the power to unearth both raw numbers and insights into our language behavior. The map above reveals regional language variations based on how we tweet about our beloved soft drinks. Edwin Chen, a data scientist at Twitter, used the site’s geo-tagging feature to search for tweets that contained the words, “coke,” “soda,” or “pop,” when users were talking about their drinks. Chen applied NLP technology into his analysis to ensure that the tweets were in fact soft drink related, and removed the tweets that were referring to the Coke brand. According to Chen’s blog, he then grouped the tweets that were within a 0.333 latitude/longitude radius, calculated the term distribution, and colored each group with the soft drink term that was furtherest away from the mean. Each point is sized according to the number of tweets in the group.
expectlabs writes: We discovered this fascinating infographic on gender differences that emerge in the frequency and types of words we speak. According to this graph, women incorporate more positive emotions and filler words into their speech while men use more anger and swear words. Do you think this linguistic behavior is accurate? What other sections of the graph reveal insights into the gender differences found in our speech patterns?
expectlabs writes: According to a recent Harvard/Google Study about the English lexicon, we have approximately 1,022,000 English words at our disposal. Despite this abundance, at times we lack the ability to convey every single emotion, concept, or situation in our lives. Pei-Ying Lin is a design student at the Royal College of Art, who mapped the relationships between English and non-English words that describe nuanced feelings. Lin used a linguistics model called W.Gerrod Parrott’s Emotion Classification, to anchor the map with five basic emotions along with related descriptive words. Lin then strategically placed the “untranslatable” words between the anchored emotions to help English speakers better comprehend their precise meanings.
expectlabs writes: "The fact that computers have the ability to turn minuscule changes in air pressure into text is an astounding achievement. Understanding the elements that make up sound is the first step in learning how this achievement, called speech recognition, works. The image above is called a spectrogram, which is a graphical representation of sound based on its frequency, intensity, duration, and resonance. Spectrograms are created by dividing sounds into segments, called frames, which are each about 20 milliseconds long. This illustrates the boundaries between phonemes, with the colors indicating the sound energy at specific times and frequencies. An MIT professor named Victor Zue is famous for being able to read these graphs, and even teaches courses on how to properly read a spectrogram. Reading spectrograms is not an easy task, and involves being able to interpret the acoustic patterns being displayed to determine what exactly is being said."
expectlabs writes: Popular Science let us in on some of their favorite gadgets, including our own MindMeld. Take a look at some truly amazing products on their website, or see it for yourself and pick up a copy of their February issue, on newsstands now.
expectlabs writes: This year’s SXSW Interactive Accelerator finalists have just been announced — and Expect Labs made it as a finalist! Every year, over 200,000 people flock to Austin for a 10-day music, film, and technology festival called by South by Southwest, that aims to discover the most forward-thinking inventions and technologies.
expectlabs writes: Expect Labs, a San Francisco startup that is developing a platform to power a new generation of intelligent digital assistants, today announced a partnership with Factual, Inc. Expect Labs' technology platform, the Anticipatory Computing Engine, is the first commercial solution designed to analyze and understand conversations in real-time and proactively find related information. Through the partnership with Factual, the knowledge base of Expect Labs' Anticipatory Computing Engine will further expand to include information about millions of local businesses, venues, and points of interest.