How Some Words Get Forgetted

14th August 2018

It’s the Great American Read!
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English is a confusing language for many reasons. But the irregular verbs might be the most confusing part. Why is “told” the past tense of “tell” but “smold” isn’t the past tense of “smell”? It turns out that the study of irregular verbs can teach us a lot about how languages evolve. This week, we look at how the era of Big Data is unlocking secrets behind the weirdness of words.

OTHER VIDEOS TO CHECK OUT:
“The Zipf Mystery” – Vsauce https://youtu.be/fCn8zs912OE
“Trending Artists of the 17th Century” – The Art Assignment https://youtu.be/7eq3D9Q9lUA

REFERENCES:

Uncharted: Big Data as a Lens on Human Culture – Erez Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel https://amzn.to/2MLBEHF

Words and Rules – Steven Pinker https://amzn.to/2vKL1kf

Lieberman, Erez, et al. “Quantifying the evolutionary dynamics of language.” Nature 449.7163 (2007): 713.

Michel, Jean-Baptiste, et al. “Quantitative analysis of culture using millions of digitized books.” Science (2010): 1199644.

Hanley, M. L., Joos, M., & Fein, T. (1937). Word index to James Joyce’s Ulysses. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

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