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More Brain Power

No offence, just raising some interesting questions.

“Researchers in Britain have found that people who speak Mandarin Chinese use both sides of their brain to understand the language.”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3025796.stm

1. Does it mean Mandarin is a bloated language that needs more CPU power?
2. Or Is it following the 80/20 rule to give more options?
3. Or Was it poorly designed so that it contains so many ambiguities ?
4. Was it designed to push for 100% CPU usage?

Very Interesting.

RM
Monday, June 30, 2003

When you learn to become a translator, the language starts out in the (side) of your brain, but goes over to the other side once you become completely fluent.

(I don't remember which side it started out on).


Monday, June 30, 2003

If we make programming languages like that.... can we work better?

Working with programming days and nights, if has to work with special language which requires both type of mind can programmers have more of a life from the job?

easy
Monday, June 30, 2003

I can answer this one, I'm a linguist.
It might be because Chinese is what is called a tone language, meaing that sounds have different meanings depending on their pitch. This is not the case in English and the European languages we're more familiar with.
The left side of the brain (in most right-handed people) includes the language area, and the right side of the brain is likely to be involved in processing music. Therefore it seems logical that the right side of the brain would be involved in understanding a tone language.

The Real PC
Monday, June 30, 2003

So saying something like:

"Put it over here."
"PUT IT OVER HERE!"
"Put it over here?"
"Put it OVER here."
"Put it over HERE."

... would not be considered a tone, or pitch?

HeyCoolAid!
Monday, June 30, 2003

You example is based on semantic understanding.  The statement has meaning without tone or pitch.  This is common in English languages because they are written in a fashion very similar to how they are spoken. 

A better example would be to say a single word "Police" and by how you say it, the meaning is:
- I am part of the police department
- I am a police officer
- I am in need of the police

Terribly over-simplified, but the best 2 cent example I had.

My2Cents
Monday, June 30, 2003

No, that is not what is meant by a tone language. Every spoken language includes pitch, but it does not have the same function as it has in a tone language.
For example in English the words "rat" and "rate" have different meanings because the "a" sounds are different. However the "a" sounds do not differ in pitch. In a tone language, a sound may have 3 different pitches, high, medium and low, and each may be a completely different vowel.

The Real PC
Monday, June 30, 2003

CoolAid,

I think RealPC's point is that syllables with different intonations have completely different meanings.  In your example, intonation was used only for emphasis, not to change the meaning.

For a good example, see the following webpage:

http://makeashorterlink.com/?A1B531A15

The site gives the well-known 'ma'/horse example.

Norbert Burger
Monday, June 30, 2003

Hum... that's pretty interesting. I guess I've never really thought about language that way before.

HeyCoolAid!
Monday, June 30, 2003

In English, one function of pitch is to signal which word in a sentence is the most important, or to express a contrast. In some languages this is signalled by the order of the words in the sentence. In English word order is relatively fixed, so words are emphasized by saying them with a higher or changing pitch (rather than moving them to the end of the sentence, for example).

In programming languages there is no pitch. I wonder if there will be some day.

The Real PC
Monday, June 30, 2003

"1. Does it mean Mandarin is a bloated language that needs more CPU power?
2. Or Is it following the 80/20 rule to give more options?
3. Or Was it poorly designed so that it contains so many ambiguities ?
4. Was it designed to push for 100% CPU usage?"

Why using both hemispheres means a need for more CPU power? Can't there be a better "load balance" instead?
Such design does make it harder for outsiders to learn it since tha language processing capabilities are not sufficiently developed in the other hemisphere.

Mr Curiousity
Monday, June 30, 2003

or maybe

5. They actually communicate more with their language than we do.


Tuesday, July 01, 2003

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