This handy infographic from Curtis Newbold reduces the rules of proper punctuation to a series of color-coded blurbs. Even the most hard-boiled grammar delinquent is sure to get the message. INFOGRAPHIC: The 69 Rules of Punctuation | Electric Literature
Language takes an astonishing variety of forms across the world—to such a huge extent that a long-standing debate rages around the question of whether all languages have even a single property in common. Well, there’s a new candidate for the elusive title of “language universal” according to a paper in this week’s issue of PNAS. All languages, the authors say, self-organise in such a way that related concepts stay as close together as possible within a sentence, making it easier to piece together the overall meaning.
Language universals are a big deal because they shed light on heavy questions about human cognition. The most famous proponent of the idea of language universals is Noam Chomsky, who suggested a “universal grammar” that underlies all languages. Finding a property that occurs in every single language would suggest that some element of language is genetically predetermined and perhaps that there is specific brain architecture dedicated to language. READ MORE: MIT claims to have found a “language universal” that ties all languages together | Ars Technica.
The software…used—the Java Authorship Attribution Program—is open source and freely available on GitHub for download. The academics studied the machine-readable text of Cuckoo’s and compared it to Rowling’s previous novel. In the course of doing so, they discovered a number of linguistic signatures that pointed to the author of Harry Potter. The software is predicated on the analysis of syntax, style and punctuation, but just as importantly on the distinctive use of prepositions and articles. It turns out writers can change sentence length and rhythm and can cater to a new audience, but they’re unlikely to change how they use “around” and “at” and “on.”
Read the full story: Open Source Solve[d] J.K. Rowling Mystery – The Official Rackspace Blog.