universal-language-mitShort Bytes: As per a research paper in PNAS, the MIT lingual scientists has tried to establish a common ground and a key to the Universal Language.

According to the Ethnologue catalogue, there are 7,102 known living languages in the world. Well, that seems too much if you are thinking to become a legendary polyglot some day. There are numerous factors that separate languages from region to region. But wouldn’t life be simple if there comes a single universal language or some common property at least that ties all these languages together.

Lingual scientists all over the world have been trying to find common properties among all the languages and a key to a universal language.

Well, as per a research paper in PNAS, the MIT lingual scientists has put up an argument that all the languages self-organise in a close syntactic manner i.e.  the related concepts stay as close together as possible, within a sentence. This makes it easier to understand its total meaning. The researchers are looking into this concept called DLM or dependency length minimization.

They checked the databases of 37 different languages’ samples.  The samples with related words far apart were given high scores and others in the descending order. The researchers then scrambled the words in the sentences and again looked into their DLM to see the meanings generated.

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The researchers concluded that the languages such as German and Japanese were easily understood compared to English despite the scramble because these had markings of nouns that convey the role each noun plays within the sentence, thus, gives them freer word order. Also, the markings made DLM less significant.

Lingual scientists like Naom Chomsky also pitch up the idea of universal grammar, that underlines all the languages. A property that occurs in all the languages is yet to be found that would suggest some parts of the language are predetermined genetically.

The research aims to establish how the word order is determined across the world’s languages.

Languages are a powerful source of identity across the world. As can be seen in the history where a language became the reason of countries’ struggle for Independence or to join hands with one another.

Interlinking the languages and finding a common ground for a universal language has always been controversial as each researcher looks out for universality in his own perspective. The DLM in this case, comes as a promising candidate for a universal cognitive mechanism.

via: PNAS

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