Understanding language. Word by word…

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The capacity for language is distinctly human. It allows us to communicate, learn things, create culture, and think better. Because of its complexity, scientists have long struggled to understand the neurobiology of language.

In the classical view, there are two major language areas in the left half of our brain. Broca’s area (in the frontal lobe) is responsible for the production of language (speaking and writing), while Wernicke’s area (in the temporal lobe) supports the comprehension of language (listening and reading). A large fibre tract (the arcuate fasciculus) connects these two ‘perisylvian’ areas (around the Sylvian fissure, the split which divides the two lobes).

“The classical view is largely wrong,” says Hagoort. Language is infinitely more complex than speaking or understanding single words, which is what the classical model was based on. While words are among the elementary ‘building blocks’ of language, we also need ‘operations’ to combine words into structured sentences, such as ‘the editor of the newspaper loved the article’. To understand and interpret such an utterance, knowing the speech sounds (or letters) and meaning of the individual words is not enough. For instance, we also need information about the context (who is the speaker?), the intonation (is the tone cynical?), and knowledge of the world (what does an editor do?). (1)

We believe thinking is complex.

And even when it is not, we make it be so.

The meaning of words depends on their context.

But going backwards, what was the first context of them all?

Go back and see within the darkness.

And you will see one word.

Uttered within perfect silence.

This is the substrate of it all.

(Silence)

Are you brave enough to listen to yourself?

Jupiter’s new moons. Silent foundations…

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The public many times is called to name some newly discovered planets, as happened in the case of Jupiter a few years ago. (1)

We believe we can escape the past, but we cannot.

Jupiter’s moons will always have names based on Greek mythology.

Because they used to.

Everything we do, speak and write, are based on things we used to do, speak and write.

Go back in the beginning.

At a time when we couldn’t speak or write.

And you will be astounded to discover that everything you speak about are based on silence…

Speaking AI… Silent logos…

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North Carolina State University researchers have developed a framework for building deep neural networks via grammar-guided network generators. In experimental testing, the new networks (called AOGNets) have outperformed existing state-of-the-art frameworks, including the widely-used ResNet and DenseNet systems, in visual recognition tasks.

“AOGNets have better prediction accuracy than any of the networks we’ve compared it to”, says Tianfu Wu, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State and corresponding author of a paper on the work. “AOGNets are also more interpretable, meaning users can see how the system reaches its conclusions.” (1)

Speak.

And you will think.

Think.

And words will come out of your mind.

We believe in Logos.

And we train our children accordingly.

But there is a secret we fail to grasp.

And in our endless chattering we choose to forget.

In the beginning there was not Logos.

Something gave birth to Logos.

In every phrase uttered, the same secret cries out loudly…

There is nothing you can say that hasn’t been said  before…

For being the veil of endless aeons…

Beyond the stars and the darkness…

In the beginning, there was silence…

Brain. Seeing. Not speaking.

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Brain region discovered that only processes spoken, not written words. Patients in a new study were able to comprehend words that were written but not said aloud. They could write the names of things they saw but not verbalize them. For instance, if a patient in the study saw the word ‘hippopotamus’ written on a piece of paper, they could identify a hippopotamus in flashcards. But when that patient heard someone say ‘hippopotamus,’ they could not point to the picture of the animal.

“They had trouble naming it aloud but did not have trouble with visual cues,” said senior author Sandra Weintraub, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “We always think of these degenerative diseases as causing widespread impairment, but in early stages, we’re learning that neurodegenerative disease can be selective with which areas of the brain it attacks.” (1)

Spoken words.

Written words.

Mute.

Words expressed can never convey any message.

It is this silence which holds the dearest secrets.

Within its mist you rediscover yourself.

Staying silent.

Holding still.

Outside the realm of words.

Staying speechless.

And yet feeling full.

For this is the only place where things which cannot be expressed…

Can ever be expressed…

Listening to words…

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For humans to achieve accurate speech recognition and communicate with one another, the auditory system must recognize distinct categories of sounds – such as words – from a continuous incoming stream of sounds. This task becomes complicated when considering the variability in sounds produced by individuals with different accents, pitches, or intonations. In a new paper, researchers detail a computational model that explores how the auditory system tackles this complex task. (1)

In the beginning there was silence.

And then… noise.

Noise cancelling everything out.

With time, we managed to get used to it.

In time, we managed to recognize words.

And we thought we discovered Logos.

Meaning out of nothingness.

Order out of chaos.

But there can be no such thing.

For chaos is chaos.

And noise is noise.

Listen carefully.

Beyond the words.

And you will see the void.

Don’t be afraid of that void.

For it is you.

Unique.

Alone.

Complete.

Staying silent.

Listening to everything…

Before it was ever spoken…

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