Neuroscience

Hearing through your fingers: Device that converts speech

A novel study published in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience provides the first evidence that a simple and inexpensive non-invasive speech-to-touch sensory substitution device has the potential to improve hearing in ...

Autism spectrum disorders

Difficulties with reading and narration in children with autism

Children with autism may be good at reading a text one word at a time, but simultaneously have problems in understanding and retelling the content of what they read. Research now shows the importance, for these children, ...

Pediatrics

How much language are unborn children exposed to in the womb?

Premature infants spend a considerable amount of time growing in neonatal intensive care units instead of in the womb. The different soundscapes of NICUs has recently attracted interest in how changes in what we hear in our ...

Neuroscience

Autism gene linked to brain and behavior deficits in mice

Mice lacking the gene Shank3 display structural and functional deficits in the prefrontal cortex, finds a study published in JNeurosci. The research advances our understanding of one of the most common genetic risk factors ...

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Language

A language is a system for encoding information. In its most common use, the term refers to so-called "natural languages" — the forms of communication considered peculiar to humankind. In linguistics the term is extended to refer to the human cognitive facility of creating and using language. Essential to both meanings is the systematic creation and usage of systems of symbols—each referring to linguistic concepts with semantic or logical or otherwise expressive meanings.

The most obvious manifestations are spoken languages such as English or Spoken Chinese. However, there are also written languages and other systems of visual symbols such as sign languages.

Although some other animals make use of quite sophisticated communicative systems, and these are sometimes casually referred to as animal language, none of these are known to make use of all of the properties that linguists use to define language in the strict sense.

When discussed more technically as a general phenomenon then, "language" always implies a particular type of human thought which can be present even when communication is not the result, and this way of thinking is also sometimes treated as indistinguishable from language itself.

In Western Philosophy for example, language has long been closely associated with reason, which is also a uniquely human way of using symbols. In Ancient Greek philosophical terminology, the same word, logos, was used as a term for both language or speech and reason, and the philosopher Thomas Hobbes used the English word "speech" so that it similarly could refer to reason, as will be discussed below.

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