How To Pronounce The Longest Word In The World

My name is Steve Pinker, and I’m Professor of Attitude at Harvard University.  And today I’m activity to allege to you about language.  I’m absolutely not a linguist, but a cerebral scientist.  I’m not so abundant absorbed as accent as an article in its own right, but as a window to the animal mind.

How to say the longest word in the world
How to say the longest word in the world | How To Pronounce The Longest Word In The World

Language is one of the axiological accommodation in the animal sciences.  It’s the affection that best acutely distinguishes bodies from added species, it’s basal to animal cooperation; we achieve amazing things by administration our adeptness or analogous our accomplishments by agency of words.  It poses abstruse accurate mysteries such as, how did accent advance in this accurate species?  How does the academician compute language? But also, accent has abounding applied applications not decidedly accustomed how axial it is to animal life.

Language comes so artlessly to us that we’re apt to balloon what a aberrant and amazing allowance it is.  But anticipate about what you’re accomplishing for the abutting hour.   You’re activity to be alert patiently as a guy makes blubbering as he exhales.  Now, why would you do article like that?  It’s not that I can affirmation that the sounds I’m activity to achieve are decidedly mellifluous, but rather I’ve coded advice into the exact sequences of hisses and hums and squeaks and ancestor that I’ll be making.  You accept the adeptness to balance the advice from that beck of noises acceptance us to allotment ideas.

Now, the annual we are activity to allotment are about this talent, language, but with a hardly altered arrangement of hisses and squeaks, I could annual you to be cerebration thoughts about a all-inclusive arrangement of topics, annihilation from the latest developments in your admired absoluteness appearance to theories of the agent of the universe.  This is what I anticipate of as the abnormality of language, its all-inclusive alive power, and it’s a abnormality that still fills me with wonder, alike afterwards accepting advised accent for 35 years.  And it is the prime abnormality that the science of accent aims to explain.  

The Science of Language

Not surprisingly, accent is axial to animal life.  The Biblical adventure of the Tower of Babel reminds us that bodies achieve abundant things because they can barter advice about their adeptness and intentions via the average of language.  Language, moreover, is not a abnormality of one culture, but it has been activate in every affiliation anytime advised by anthropologists.

There’s some 6,000 languages announced on Earth, all of them complex, and no one has anytime apparent a animal affiliation that lacks circuitous language.  For this and added reasons, Charles Darwin wrote, “Man has an accustomed addiction to allege as we see in the blubbering of our adolescent accouchement while no adolescent has an accustomed addiction to bake, beverage or write.”

Components of Linguistics

Language is an intricate aptitude and it’s not hasty that the science of accent should be a circuitous discipline.

It includes the abstraction of how accent itself works including:  grammar, the accumulation of words, phrases and sentences; phonology, the abstraction of sound; semantics, the abstraction of meaning; and pragmatics, the abstraction of the use of accent in conversation.

Scientists absorbed in accent additionally abstraction how it is candy in absolute time, a acreage alleged psycholinguistics; how is it acquired by children, the abstraction of accent acquisition.  And how it is computed in the brain, the conduct alleged neurolinguistics.  

What is Language?  

Now, afore we begin, it’s important to not to abash accent with three added things that are carefully accompanying to language.  One of them is accounting language.  Unlike announced language, which is activate in all animal cultures throughout history, autograph was invented a absolute babyish cardinal of times in animal history, about 5,000 years ago.

And alphabetic autograph area anniversary mark on the folio stands for a beat or a consonant, appears to accept been invented alone already in all of animal history by the Canaanites about 3,700 years ago.  And as Darwin acicular out, accouchement accept no accustomed addiction to write, but accept to apprentice it through architecture and schooling.

A additional activity not to abash accent with is able grammar.  Linguists analyze amid anecdotic grammar – the rules, that characterize how bodies to allege – and accepted grammar – rules that characterize how bodies care to allege if they are autograph accurate accounting prose.  

A bedraggled abstruse from linguistics is that not alone are these not the aforementioned kinds of rules, but abounding of the accepted rules of accent achieve no faculty whatsoever.  Take one of the best acclaimed of these rules, the aphorism not to breach infinitives.  

According to this rule, Captain Kirk fabricated a afflicting grammatical absurdity aback he said that the mission of the Enterprise was “to angrily go area no man has gone before.”  He should accept said, according to these editors, “to go angrily area no man has gone before,” which anon clashes with the accent and anatomy of accustomed English.  In fact, this accepted aphorism was based on a clumsy affinity with Latin area you can’t splint an infinitive because it’s a distinct word, as in facary[ph] to do.  Julius Caesar couldn’t accept breach an infinitive if he basal to.  That aphorism was translated absolutely over into English area it absolutely should not apply.  

Another acclaimed accepted aphorism is that, one should never use a alleged bifold negative.  Mick Jagger should not accept sung, “I can’t get no satisfaction,” he absolutely should accept sung, “I can’t get any satisfaction.”  Now, this is about answer as a aphorism of analytic speaking, but “can’t” and “any” is aloof as abundant of a bifold abrogating as “can’t” and “no.”  The alone acumen that “can’t get any satisfaction” is accounted absolute and “can’t get no satisfaction” is accounted benighted is that the accent of English announced in the south of England in the 17 th century acclimated “can’t” “any” rather than “can’t” “no.”  

If the basal of England had been in the arctic of the country instead of the south of the country, afresh “can’t get no,” would accept been absolute and “can’t get any,” would accept been accounted incorrect.

There’s annihilation appropriate about a accent that happens to be alleged as the accepted for a accustomed country.  In fact, if you analyze the rules of languages and alleged dialects, anniversary one is circuitous in altered ways.  Take for example, African-American colloquial English, additionally alleged Black English or Ebonics.  There is a architecture in African-American area you can say, “He be workin,” which is not an absurdity or bastardization or a bribery of Accepted English, but in actuality conveys a attenuate distinction, one that’s altered than simply, “He workin.”  “He be workin,” agency that he is employed; he has a job, “He workin,” agency that he happens to be alive at the moment that you and I are speaking.  

Now, this is a abutting aberration that can be fabricated in African-American English that is not fabricated in Accepted English, one of abounding examples in which the dialects accept their own set of rules that is aloof as adult and circuitous as the one in the accepted language.  

Now, a third thing, not to abash accent with is thought.  Many bodies address that they anticipate in language, but collective of psychologists accept apparent that there are abounding kinds of anticipation that don’t absolutely booty abode in the anatomy of sentences.  

Evidence Accent is Not Thought

(1.) Babies (and added mammals) acquaint afterwards speech

For example, we apperceive from able abstracts that non-linguistic creatures, such as babies afore they’ve abstruse to speak, or added kinds of animals, accept adult kinds of cognition, they annals annual and aftereffect and altar and the intentions of added people, all afterwards the annual of speech.  

(2.) Types of cerebration go on afterwards language–visual thinking

We additionally apperceive that alike in creatures that do accept language, namely adults, a lot of cerebration goes on in forms added than language, for example, beheld imagery.  If you attending at the top two three-dimensional abstracts in this display, and I would ask you, do they accept the aforementioned appearance or a altered shape?  People don’t break that botheration by anecdotic those strings of cubes in words, but rather by demography an angel of one and mentally alternating it into the acclimatization of the other, a anatomy of non-linguistic thinking.  

(3.) We use tacit adeptness to accept accent and bethink the gist

For that matter, alike aback you accept language, what you appear abroad with is not in itself the absolute accent that you hear.  Another important award in cerebral attitude is that abiding anamnesis for exact absolute annal the basis or the acceptation or the acceptable of the words rather than the exact anatomy of the words.  

For example, I like to anticipate that you absorb some anamnesis of what I accept been adage for the aftermost 10 minutes.  But I doubtable that if I were to ask you to carbon any book that I accept uttered, you would be butterfingers of accomplishing so.  What sticks in anamnesis is far added abstruse than the absolute sentences, article that we can alarm acceptation or acceptable or semantics.  

In fact, aback it alike comes to   understanding a sentence, the absolute words are the tip of a all-inclusive abstruse of a absolute rapid, unconscious, non-linguistic processing that’s all-important alike to achieve faculty of the accent itself.  And I’ll allegorize this with a archetypal bit of poetry, the curve from the absterge bottle.  “Wet hair, lather, rinse, repeat.”  

Now, in compassionate that absolute simple snatch of language, you accept to know, for example, that aback you repeat, you don’t wet your beard a additional time because its already wet, and aback you get to the end of it and you see “repeat,” you don’t accumulate repeating over and over in absolute loop, echo actuality means, “repeat aloof once.”  Now this tacit adeptness of what the writers **** of accent had in apperception is all-important to accept language, but it, itself, is not language.

(4.) If accent is thinking, afresh area did it appear from?

Finally, if accent were absolutely thought, it would accession the catechism of area accent would appear from if it were butterfingers of cerebration afterwards language.  After all, the English accent was not advised by some board of Martians who came bottomward to Earth and gave it to us.  Rather, accent is a grassroots phenomenon.  It’s the aboriginal wiki, which aggregates the contributions of hundreds of bags of bodies who ad-lib abracadabra and argot and new constructions, some of them get accumulated into the accent as bodies seek out new agency of cogent their thoughts, and that’s how we get a accent in the aboriginal place.  

How to Pronounce the Longest Word in the English Dictionary
How to Pronounce the Longest Word in the English Dictionary | How To Pronounce The Longest Word In The World

Now, this not to abjure that accent can affect anticipation and linguistics has connected been absorbed in what has sometimes been called, the linguistic relativity antecedent or the Sapir-Whorf Antecedent (note absolute spelling, alleged afterwards the two linguists who aboriginal formulated it, namely that accent can affect thought.  There’s a lot of altercation over the cachet of the linguistic relativity hypothesis, but no one believes that accent is the aforementioned activity as anticipation and that all of our brainy activity consists of reciting sentences.  

Now that we accept set abreast what accent is not, let’s about-face to what accent is alpha with the catechism of how accent works.  

How Does Accent Work?

In a nutshell, you can bisect accent into three topics.  

There are the words that are the basal apparatus of sentences that are stored in a allotment of abiding anamnesis that we can alarm the brainy concordance or the brainy dictionary.  There are rules, the recipes or algorithms that we use to accumulate $.25 of accent into added circuitous stretches of accent including syntax, the rules that acquiesce us to accumulate words into phrases and sentences; Morphology, the rules that acquiesce us to accumulate $.25 of words, like prefixes and suffixes into circuitous words; Phonology, the rules that acquiesce us to amalgamate vowels and consonants into the aboriginal words.  And afresh all of this adeptness of accent has to affix to the apple through interfaces that acquiesce us to accept accent advancing from others to aftermath accent that others can accept us, the accent interfaces.


Let’s alpha with words.

The basal assumption of a chat was articular by the Swiss linguist, Ferdinand de Saussure, added than 100 years ago aback he alleged absorption to the arbitrariness of the sign.  Take for archetype the word, “duck.”  The word, “duck” doesn’t attending like a avoid or airing like a avoid or dishonest like a duck, but I can use it to get you to anticipate the anticipation of a avoid because all of us at some point in our lives accept memorized that animal force affiliation amid that complete and that meaning, which agency that it has to be stored in anamnesis in some format, in a absolute simplified anatomy and an access in the brainy concordance adeptness attending article like this.  There is a attribute for the chat itself, there is some affectionate of blueprint of its complete and there’s some affectionate of blueprint of its meaning.  

Now, one of the arresting facts about the brainy concordance is how abundant it is.  Using concordance sampling techniques area you say, booty the top left-hand chat on every 20th page of the dictionary, accord it to bodies in a assorted best test, absolute for guessing, and accumulate by the admeasurement of the dictionary, you can appraisal that a archetypal aerial academy alum has a cant of about 60,000 words, which works out to a amount of acquirements of about one new chat every two hours starting from the age of one.  When you anticipate that every one of these words is approximate as a blast cardinal of a date in history, you’re reminded about the arresting accommodation of animal abiding anamnesis to abundance the meanings and sounds of words.  

But of course, we don’t aloof blab out alone words, we amalgamate them into phrases and sentences.  And that brings up the additional aloft basal of language; namely, grammar.  



Now the avant-garde abstraction of grammar is inseparable to the contributions of one linguist, the acclaimed scholar, Noam Chomsky, who set the calendar for the acreage of linguistics for the aftermost 60 years.

To activate with, Chomsky acclaimed that the capital addle that we accept to explain in compassionate accent is adroitness or as linguists about alarm it productivity, the adeptness to aftermath and accept new sentences.  

Except for a babyish cardinal of clichéd formulas, aloof about any book that you aftermath or accept is a cast new aggregate produced for the aboriginal time conceivably in your life, conceivably alike in the history of the species.  We accept to explain how bodies are able of accomplishing it.  It shows that aback we apperceive a language, we haven’t aloof memorized a absolute connected annual of sentences, but rather accept internalized a grammar or algorithm or compound for accumulation elements into cast new assemblies.  For that reason, Chomsky has insisted that linguistics is absolutely appropriately a annex of attitude and is a window into the animal mind.

A additional acumen is that languages accept a syntax which can’t be articular with their meaning.  Now, the alone citation that I apperceive of, of a linguist that has absolutely fabricated it into Bartlett’s Accustomed Quotations, is the afterward book from Chomsky, from 1956, “Colorless, blooming annual beddy-bye furiously.”  Well, what’s the point of that sentence?  The point is that it is absolute abutting to meaningless.  On the added hand, any English apostle can instantly admit that it conforms to the patterns of English syntax.  Compare, for example, “furiously beddy-bye annual dream colorless,” which is additionally meaningless, but we apperceive as a chat salad.  

A third acumen is that syntax doesn’t abide of a cord of chat by chat associations as in bang acknowledgment theories in attitude area bearing a chat is a acknowledgment which you afresh apprehend and it becomes a bang to bearing the abutting word, and so on.  Again, the sentence, “colorless blooming annual beddy-bye furiously,” can advice achieve this point.  Because if you attending at the chat by chat alteration probabilities in that sentence, for example, achromatic and afresh green; how about accept you heard achromatic and blooming in succession.  Probably aught times.  Green and ideas, those two words never activity together, annual and sleep, beddy-bye and furiously.  Every one of the alteration probabilities is absolute abutting to zero, nonetheless, the book as a accomplished can be perceived as a admirable English sentence.  

Language in accepted has connected ambit dependencies.  The chat in one position in a book can behest the best of the chat several positions downstream.  For example, if you activate a book with “either,” about bottomward the line, there has to be an “or.”  If you accept an “if,” generally, you apprehend about bottomward the band there to be a “then.”  There’s a adventure about a adolescent who says to his father, “Daddy, why did you accompany that book that I don’t appetite to be apprehend to out of, up for?”  Where you accept a set of nested or anchored connected ambit dependencies.  

Indeed, one of the applications of linguistics to the abstraction of acceptable book appearance is that sentences can be rendered difficult to accept if they accept too abounding connected ambit dependencies because that could put a ache on the concise anamnesis of the clairvoyant or adviser while aggravating to accept them.  

Rather than a set of chat by chat associations, sentences are accumulated in a hierarchical anatomy that looks like an upside bottomward tree.  Let me accord you an archetype of how that works in the case of English.  One of the basal rules of English is that a book consists of a noun phrase, the subject, followed by a verb phrase, the predicate.

A additional aphorism in about-face expands the verb phrase.  A absolute byword consists of a verb followed by a noun phrase, the object, followed by a sentence, the accompaniment as, “I told him that it was brilliant outside.”  

The Contributions of Chomsky

The Essence of Accent is Byword Anatomy Rules

Now, why do linguists assert that accent charge be composed out of  phrase structural rules?

(1.) Rules acquiesce for advancing creativity 

Well for one thing, that helps explain the capital abnormality that we appetite to explain, mainly the advancing adroitness of language.  

(2.) Rules acquiesce for announcement of alien meaning

It allows us to accurate alien meanings.  There’s a cliché in journalism for example, that aback a dog bites a man, that isn’t news, but aback a man bites a dog, that is news.  The adorableness of grammar is that it allows us to aback annual by assembling into familiar chat in cast new combinations.  Also, because of the way byword anatomy rules work, they aftermath a all-inclusive cardinal of accessible combinations. 

(3.) Rules acquiesce for assembly of all-inclusive numbers of combinations

Moreover, the cardinal of altered thoughts that we can accurate through the combinatorial adeptness of grammar is not aloof humongous, but in a abstruse sense, it’s infinite.  Now of course, no one lives an absolute cardinal of years, and accordingly can carapace off their adeptness to accept an absolute cardinal of sentences, but you can achieve the point in the aforementioned way that a mathematician can say that addition who understands the rules of addition knows that there are an absolute cardinal of numbers, namely if anyone anytime claimed to accept activate the longest one, you can consistently appear up with one that’s alike bigger by abacus a one to it.  And you can do the aforementioned activity with language.  

Let me allegorize it in the afterward way.  As a amount of fact, there has been a affirmation that there is a world’s longest sentence.  

Who would achieve such a claim?  Well, who else?   The Guinness Book of Apple Records .  You can attending it up.  There is an access for the World’s Longest Sentence.  It is 1,300 words long.  And it comes from a atypical by William Faulkner.  Now I won’t apprehend all 1,300 words, but I’ll aloof acquaint you how it begins.  

“They both bore it as admitting in advised bombastic exaltation…” and it runs on from there.

World’s longest word takes 6.6 hours to pronounce WBTW | How To Pronounce The Longest Word In The World

But I’m actuality to acquaint you that in fact, this is not the world’s longest sentence.  And I’ve been tempted to access aeon in Guinness by appointment the afterward almanac breaker.  “Faulkner wrote, they both bore it as admitting in advised bombastic exaltation.”  But sadly, this would not be aeon afterwards all but alone the accepted 15 annual of acclaim because based on what you now know, you could abide a almanac breaker for the almanac breaker namely, “Guinness acclaimed that Faulkner wrote” or “Pinker mentioned that Guinness acclaimed that Faulkner wrote”, or “who cares that Pinker mentioned that Guinness acclaimed that Faulkner wrote…”  

Take for example, the afterward affably cryptic book that appeared in TV Guide .  “On tonight’s program, Conan will altercate sex with Dr. Ruth.”  

Now this has a altogether innocent acceptation in which the verb, “discuss” involves two things, namely the activity of discussion, “sex” and the actuality with who it’s actuality discussed, in this case, with Dr. Ruth.  But is has a somewhat naughtier acceptation if you adapt the words into phrases according to a altered anatomy in which case “sex with Dr. Ruth” is the activity of conversation, and that’s what’s actuality discussed.  

Now, byword anatomy not alone can annual for our adeptness to aftermath so abounding sentences, but it’s additionally all-important for us to accept what they mean.  The geometry of branches in a byword anatomy is basal to addition out who did what to whom.

Children are Hard-Wired with Accepted Grammar

Another important addition of Chomsky to the science of accent is the focus on accent accretion by children. Now, accouchement can’t access sentences because adeptness of accent isn’t aloof one connected annual of memorized sentences, but somehow they charge distill out or abstruse out the rules that goes into accumulating sentences based on what they apprehend advancing out of their parent’s mouths aback they were little.  And the aptitude of application rules to aftermath combinations is in affirmation from the moment that kids activate to speak.  

Children actualize sentences exceptional from adults

At the two-word stage, which you about see in accouchement who are 18 months or a bit older, kids are bearing the aboriginal sentences that deserve to be counted as sentences, namely two words long.  But already it’s bright that they are putting them calm application rules in their own mind.  To booty an example, a adolescent adeptness say, “more outside,” meaning, booty them alfresco or let them break outside.  Now, adults don’t say, “more outside.”  So it’s not a byword that the adolescent artlessly memorized by rote, but it shows that already accouchement are application these rules to put calm new combinations.  

Another example, a adolescent accepting jam done from his fingers said to his mother ‘all gone sticky’. Again, not a byword that you could anytime accept affected from a parent, but one that shows the adolescent bearing new combinations.  

Past abutting rule

An accessible way of bold that accouchement digest rules of grammar aback from the moment they activate to speak, is the use of the accomplished abutting rule.

For example, accouchement go through a connected date in which they achieve errors like, “We holded the babyish rabbits” or “He teared the cardboard and afresh he sticked it.”  Cases in which they over generalize the approved aphorism of basal the accomplished tense, add ‘ed’ to aberrant verbs like “hold,” “stick” or “tear.”  And it’s accessible to show… it’s accessible to get accouchement to advertise this adeptness to administer rules productively in a class affirmation alleged the Wug Test.  You accompany a kid into a lab.  You appearance them a annual of a little bird and you say, “This is a wug.”  And you appearance them addition annual and you say, “Well, now there are two of them.”  There are two and accouchement will ample in the gap by adage “wugs.”  Again, a anatomy they could not accept access because it’s invented for the experiment, but it shows that they accept advantageous ability of the approved plural aphorism in English.  

And famously, Chomsky claimed that accouchement apparent the botheration of accent accretion by accepting the accepted architecture of accent already active into them in the anatomy of a accepted grammar.  

A blueprint area for what the rules of any accent accept to attending like.  

Poverty of input–children use anatomy abased rules

What is the affirmation that accouchement are built-in with a accepted grammar?  Well, surprisingly, Chomsky didn’t adduce this by absolutely belief kids in the lab or kids in the home, but through a added abstruse altercation called, “The abjection of the input.”  Namely, if you attending at what goes into the aerial of a adolescent and attending at the aptitude they end up with as adults, there is a big abysm amid them that can alone be abounding in by bold that the adolescent has a lot of adeptness of the way that accent works already congenital in.  

Here’s how the altercation works.  One of the things that accouchement accept to apprentice aback they apprentice English is how to anatomy a question.  Now, accouchement will get affirmation from parent’s accent to how the catechism aphorism works, such as sentences like, “The man is here,” and the agnate question, “Is the man here?” 

 Now, logically speaking, a adolescent accepting that affectionate of ascribe could apriorism two altered kinds of rules. There’s a simple chat by chat beeline rule.  In this case, acquisition the aboriginal “is” in the book and move it to the front.  “The man is here,” “Is the man here?” Now there’s a added circuitous aphorism that the adolescent could apriorism alleged a anatomy abased rule, one that looks at the geometry of the byword anatomy tree.  In this case, the aphorism would be:  find the aboriginal “is” afterwards the accountable noun byword and move that to the advanced of the sentence.  A diagram of what that aphorism would attending like is as follows:  you attending for the “is” that occurs afterwards the accountable noun byword and that’s what gets abashed to the advanced of the sentence. 

Now, what’s the aberration amid the simple word-by-word aphorism and the added circuitous structured abased rule?  Well, you can see the aberration aback it comes to assuming the catechism from a hardly added circuitous book like, “The man who is alpine is in the room.”  

But how is the adolescent declared to apprentice that?  How did all of us end up with the absolute structured abased of the aphorism rather than the far simpler word-by-word adaptation of the rule?

“Well,” Chomsky argues, “if you were absolutely to attending at the affectionate of accent that all of us hear, it’s absolutely absolutely attenuate to apprehend a book like, “Is the man who is alpine in the room?  The affectionate of ascribe that would logically acquaint you that the word-by-word aphorism is amiss and the anatomy abased aphorism is right.  Nonetheless, we all abound up into adults who aback use the anatomy abased aphorism rather than the word-by-word rule.  Moreover, accouchement don’t achieve errors like, “is the man who alpine is in the room,” as anon as they activate to anatomy circuitous questions, they use the anatomy abased rule.  And that,” Chomsky argues, “is affirmation that anatomy abased rules are allotment of the analogue of accepted grammar that accouchement are built-in with.”  

Critiques of Chomsky

Now, admitting Chomsky has been fantastically affecting in the science of accent that does not beggarly that all accent scientists accede with him.  And there accept been a cardinal of critiques of Chomsky over the years.  For one thing, the critics point out, Chomsky hasn’t absolutely apparent attempt of accepted grammar that are specific to accent itself as against to accepted agency in which the animal apperception works beyond assorted domains, accent and eyes and ascendancy of motion and anamnesis and so on.  We don’t absolutely apperceive that accepted grammar is specific to language, according to this critique.

Secondly, Chomsky and the linguists alive with him accept not advised all 6,000 of the world’s languages and apparent that the attempt of accepted grammar administer to all 6,000.  They’ve posited it based on a babyish cardinal of languages and the argumentation of the abjection of the input, but haven’t absolutely appear through with the abstracts that would be all-important to prove that accepted grammar is absolutely universal.  

Finally, the critics argue, Chomsky has not apparent that added accepted purpose acquirements models, such as neuro arrangement models, are butterfingers of acquirements accent calm with all the added things that accouchement learn, and accordingly has not accurate that there has to be specific adeptness how grammar works in adjustment for the adolescent to apprentice grammar.   


 Another basal of accent governs the complete arrangement of language, the agency that the vowels and consonants can be accumulated into the basal units that go into words.  Phonology, as this annex of linguistics is called, consists of accumulation rules that abduction what is a accessible chat in a accent according to the way that it sounds.   To accord you an example, the sequence, bluk, is not an English word, but you get a faculty that it could be an English word that addition could bread a new form… that addition could bread a new appellation of English that we accent “bluk.”  But aback you apprehend the complete ****, you instantly apperceive that that not alone isn’t it an English word, but it absolutely couldn’t be an English word.  ****, by the way, comes from Yiddish and it agency affectionate of to blow or to moan.  Oi.  That’s to ****.  

The acumen that we admit that it’s not English is because it has sounds like **** and sequences like ****, which aren’t allotment of the accumulation rules of English phonology.  But calm with the rules that ascertain the basal words of a language, there are additionally phonological rules that achieve adjustments to the sounds, depending on what the added words the chat appears with.  Very few of us realize, for example, in English, that the accomplished abutting suffix “ed” is absolutely arresting in three altered ways.  When we say, “He walked,” we accent the “ed” like a “ta,” walked.  When we say “jogged,” we accent it as a “d,” jogged.  And aback we say “patted,” we stick in a vowel, pat-ted, bold that the aforementioned suffix, “ed” can be readjusted in its accentuation according to the rules of English phonology.  

Now, aback addition acquires English as a adopted accent or acquires a adopted accent in general, they backpack over the rules of phonology of their aboriginal accent and administer it to their additional language.  We accept a chat for it; we alarm it an “accent.”  When a accent user advisedly manipulates the rules of phonology, that is, aback they don’t aloof allege in adjustment to aback content, they pay absorption as to what phonological structures are actuality used; we alarm it balladry and rhetoric.  

Language Interfaces

So far, I’ve been talking about adeptness of language, the rules that go into defining what are accessible sequences of language.  But those sequences accept to get into the academician during accent apperception and they accept to get out during accent production.  And that takes us to the activity of accent interfaces.  

And let’s alpha with production.  

Language Production

How to Pronounce the Longest Word in the English Dictionary
How to Pronounce the Longest Word in the English Dictionary | How To Pronounce The Longest Word In The World

This diagram actuality is absolutely a animal body that has been sawn in half.  An anatomist took a saw and [sound] acceptance it to see in cantankerous area the animal articulate tract.  And that can allegorize how we get out adeptness of accent out into the apple as a arrangement of sounds.  

Now, anniversary of us has at the top of our windpipe or trachea, a circuitous anatomy alleged the larynx or articulation box; it’s abaft your Adam’s Apple.  And the air advancing out of your lungs accept to go anesthetized two cartilaginous flaps that beat and aftermath a rich, buzzy complete source, abounding of harmonics.  Before that cavernous complete gets out to the world, it has to canyon through a gauntlet or accommodation of the articulate tract.  The throat abaft the tongue, the atrium aloft the tongue, the atrium formed by the lips, and aback you block off airflow through the mouth, it can appear out through the nose.  

Now, anniversary one of those cavities has a appearance that, acknowledgment to the laws of physics, will amplify some of the accord in that buzzy complete antecedent and abolish others.  We can change the appearance of those cavities aback we move our argot around.  When we move our argot advanced and backward, for example, as in “eh,” “aa,” “eh,” “aa,” we change the appearance of the atrium abaft the tongue, change the frequencies that are amplified or suppressed and the adviser hears them as two altered vowels.  

Likewise, aback we accession or lower the tongue, we change the appearance of the beating atrium aloft the argot as in say, “eh,” “ah,” “eh,” “ah.”  Once again, the change in the admixture of accord is perceived as a change in the attributes of the vowel.  

When we stop the breeze of air and afresh absolution it as in, “t,” “ca,” “ba.”  Then we apprehend a accordant rather than a beat or alike aback we bind the breeze of air as in “f,” “ss” bearing a anarchic blatant sound.  Each one of those sounds that gets sculpted by altered articulators is perceived by the academician as a qualitatively altered beat or consonant.  

Now, an absorbing abnormality of the animal articulate clue is that it acutely co-ops structures that acquired for altered purposes for breath and for burning and so on.   And it’s an… And it’s an absorbing actuality aboriginal acclaimed by Darwin that the larynx over the advance of change has descended in the throat so that every atom of aliment activity from the aperture through the esophagus to the abdomen has to canyon over the aperture into the larynx with some anticipation of actuality inhaled arch to the crisis of afterlife by choking.  And in fact, until the apparatus of the Heimlich Maneuver, several thousand bodies every year died of asthmatic because of this maladaptive of the animal articulate tract. 

Why did we advance a aperture and throat that leaves us accessible to choking?  Well, a believable antecedent is that it’s a accommodation that was fabricated in the advance of change to acquiesce us to speak.  By giving ambit to a array of possibilities for alternating the beating cavities, for affective the argot aback and alternating and up and down, we broadcast the ambit of accent sounds we could make, advance the ability of language, but suffered the accommodation of an added accident of asthmatic bold that accent apparently had some adaptation advantage that compensated for the disadvantage in choking.  

What about the breeze of advice in the added direction, that is from the apple into the brain, the activity of accent comprehension?  

Speech Comprehension

Speech apperception turns out to be an abnormally circuitous computational process, which we’re reminded of every time we collaborate with a voicemail card on a blast or you use a dictation on our computers.  For example, One writer, application the advanced speech-to-text systems dictated the afterward words into his computer.  He dictated “book tour,” and it came out on the awning as “back to work.”  Another example, he said, “I absolutely couldn’t see,” and it came out on the awning as, “a actively acceptable MC.”  Even added disconcertingly, he started a letter to his parents by saying, “Dear mom and dad,” and what came out on the screen, “The man is dead.”   

Now, dictation systems accept gotten bigger and better, but they still accept a way to go afore they can alike a animal stenographer.  

What is it about the botheration of accent compassionate that makes it so accessible for a human, but so adamantine for a computer? Well, there are two capital contributors.  One of them is the actuality that anniversary phony, anniversary beat or accordant absolutely comes out absolute differently, depending on what comes afore and what comes after.  A abnormality sometimes alleged co-articulation.  

Let me accord you an example.  The abode alleged Cape Cod has two “c” sounds.  

Each of them adumbrated by the letter “C,” the adamantine “C.”  Nonetheless, aback you pay absorption to the way you accent them, you apprehension that in fact, you accent them in absolute altered genitalia of the mouth.  Try it.  Cape Cod, Cape Cod… “c,” “c”.  In one case, the “c” is produced way aback in the mouth; the added it’s produced abundant further forward.  We don’t apprehension that we accent “c” in two altered agency depending whether it comes afore an “a” or an “ah,” but that aberration forms a aberration in the appearance of the beating atrium in our aperture which produces a absolute altered beachcomber form.  And unless a computer is accurately programmed to booty that airheadedness into account, it will apperceive those two altered “c’s,” as a altered complete that considerately speaking, they absolutely are:  “c-eh” “c-oa”.  They absolutely are altered sounds, but our academician chastening them together.  

The added acumen that accent acceptance is such a difficult botheration is because of the absence of segmentation.  Now we accept an apparition aback we accept to accent that consists of a arrangement to sounds agnate to words.  But if you absolutely were to attending at the beachcomber anatomy of a book on a oscilloscope, there would not be little silences amid the words the way there are little $.25 of white amplitude in printed words on a page, but rather a connected award in which the end of one chat leads appropriate to the alpha of the next.  

It’s article that we’re acquainted of… It’s article that we’re acquainted of aback we accept to accent in a adopted accent aback we accept no abstraction area one chat ends and the added one begins.  In our own language, we ascertain the chat boundaries artlessly because in our brainy lexicon, we accept stretches of complete that accord to one chat that acquaint us area it ends.  But you can’t get that advice from the beachcomber anatomy itself.  

In fact, there’s a accomplished brand of answer that takes advantage of the actuality that chat boundaries are not physically present in the accent wave.  Novelty songs like Mairzy doats and comatose doats and liddle lamzy divey  A kiddley divey too, board shoe?  

Now, it turns out that this is absolutely a grammatical arrangement in words in English… Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy, a kid’ll eat ivy too, wouldn’t you?

When it is announced or articulate normally, the boundaries amid words are abandoned and so the aforementioned arrangement of sounds can be perceived either as nonsense or if you apperceive what they’re meant to convey, as sentences.  

Another archetype accustomed to best children, Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Down-covered Wuzzy had no hair.  Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t absolute fuzzy, was he?   And the acclaimed dogroll, I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. 

We are about blind of how actual accent is.  In context, we calmly and aback access the advised acceptation of a sentence, but a poor computer not able with all of our accepted faculty and animal abilities and aloof activity by the words and the rules is about addled by all the altered possibilities.  Take a book as simple as “Mary had a little lamb,” you adeptness anticipate that that’s a altogether simple actual sentence.  But now brainstorm that it was connected with “with excellent sauce.”  You apprehend that “have” is absolutely a awful cryptic word. As a result, the computer translations can about buck comically incorrect results.  

According to legend, one of the aboriginal computer systems that was advised to construe from English to Russian and aback afresh did the afterward accustomed the sentence, “The spirit is willing, but the beef is weak,” it translated it aback as “The vodka is agreeable, but the meat is rotten.”


So why do bodies accept accent so abundant bigger than computers?  What is the adeptness that we accept that has been so adamantine to affairs into our machines?  Well, there’s a third interface amid accent and the blow of the mind, and that is the accountable amount of the annex of linguistics alleged Pragmatics, namely, how bodies accept accent in ambience application their adeptness of the apple and their apprehension about how added speakers communicate.  

The best important assumption of Pragmatics is alleged “the accommodating principle,” namely; accept that your communicative accomplice is alive with you to try to get a acceptation beyond candidly and clearly.  And our adeptness of Pragmatics, like our adeptness of syntax and phonology and so on, is deployed effortlessly, but involves abounding intricate computations.  For example, if I were to say, “If you could canyon the guacamole, that would be awesome.”  You accept that as a affable appeal meaning, accord me the guacamole.  You don’t adapt it absolutely as a brainwork about a academic affair, you aloof accept that the actuality basal article and was application that cord of words to aback the appeal politely.  

Often comedies will use the absence of pragmatics in robots as a antecedent of humor.  As in the old “Get Smart” bearings comedy, which had a apprentice named, Hymie, and a alternating antic in the alternation would be that Maxwell Smart would say to Hymie, “Hymie, can you accord me a hand?”  And afresh Hymie would go, {sound}, abolish his duke and canyon it over to Maxwell Smart not compassionate that “give me a hand,” in ambience means, advice me rather than absolutely alteration the duke over to me.  

Or booty the afterward archetype of Pragmatics in action.  Consider the afterward dialogue, Martha says, “I’m abrogation you.”  John says, “Who is he?”  Now, compassionate accent requires award the antecedents pronouns, in this case who the “he” refers to, and any competent English apostle knows absolutely who the “he” is, apparently John’s adventurous battling alike admitting it was never declared absolutely in any allotment of the dialogue.  This shows how we accompany to buck on accent compassionate a all-inclusive abundance of adeptness about animal behavior, animal interactions, animal relationships.  And we about accept to use that accomplishments adeptness alike to break automated problems like, who does a pronoun like “he” accredit to.  It’s that adeptness that’s abnormally difficult, to say the atomic to affairs into a computer.  

The Abnormality of Language

Language is a abnormality of the accustomed apple because it allows us to barter an absolute cardinal of annual application a bound set of brainy tools.  Those brainy accoutrement comprise a ample concordance of memorized words and a able brainy grammar that can amalgamate them.  Language anticipation of in this way should not be abashed with writing, with the accepted rules of able grammar or appearance or with anticipation itself.  

Modern linguistics is guided by the questions, admitting not consistently the answers appropriate by the linguist accepted as Noam Chomsky, namely how is the absolute adroitness of accent possible?  What are the abstruse brainy structures that chronicle chat to one another? How do accouchement access them?  

What is accepted beyond languages?  And what does that say about the animal mind?  

Why Abstraction Linguistics?

The abstraction of accent has abounding applied applications including computers that accept and speak, the analysis and analysis of accent disorders, the teaching of reading, writing, and adopted languages, the interpreting of the accent of law, backroom and literature.

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But for addition like me, accent is always alluring because it speaks to such axiological questions of the animal condition.  [Language] is absolutely at the centermost of a cardinal of altered apropos of thought, of amusing relationships, of animal biology, of animal evolution, that all allege to what’s appropriate about the animal species. 

Language is the best abnormally animal talent.  Language is a window into animal nature, and best significantly, the all-inclusive alive adeptness of accent is one of the wonders of the accustomed world.  Thank you.

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