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Neanderthals appear to have had the capacity to hear verbal language, suggesting that modern human communication has ancient roots.
Sign language users are adapting to the limitations of video conferencing platforms, which have become more popular due to the pandemic.
An algorithm that can identify the closest living relatives of lost languages could help linguists unlock the meaning of ancient texts.
A non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation device can make language learning easier — and it might help with other types of learning, too.
Aline Sara is changing the conversation around what it means to be a refugee by talking — literally. Through her startup, NaTakallam (Arabic for "we talk"), Aline pairs refugees with people from other countries who want to learn their language. The "conversation partners" chat over Whatsapp or Skype to improve their Arabic or Spanish. But Aline says that people gain more than just language skills: it is foreign language...
Volunteers worldwide are documenting the world's rarest languages in a project called Wikitongues. Over a thousand volunteers (and counting) from around the world make videos of people speaking their native language — introducing themselves, providing an oral history, or just talking about their culture — then upload it to an online database. The archive is available on the web as a free language encyclopedia. Soon they will also be available at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
Real-time translation seeks to break down all language barriers in the world. Several tech companies believe they are on the verge of making this a reality through new devices such as Google's Pixel Bud headphones, which can translate up to 40 languages in one to two seconds. While the technology is still a work in progress, Google and others hope it might not be long before such technologies can help connect the world...