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Behind the optimization of human language: what is the life cycle of words with identical consonants?
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Behind the optimization of human language: what is the life cycle of words with identical consonants?

Is there a reason behind the structure of the words we use? Linguist Chundra Cathcart from the University of Zurich and the NCCR Evolving Language investigated a new hypothesis that could explain the relative fewness of words with identical consonants.

Lighthouse Awards: The National Centres of Competence in Research shine beyond science
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Lighthouse Awards: The National Centres of Competence in Research shine beyond science

On the 27th of June, the Swiss National Science Fondation (SNSF) rewarded the work of the NCCR Evolving Language's in the field of Data Science.

Investigating social timing with marmoset pairs
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Investigating social timing with marmoset pairs

In a recent study, researchers discovered that pairs of marmosets take turns feeding and being vigilant. They provide a mathematical framework for studying synchronisation in animals. Their work is featured on the cover of the journal PLOS Computational Biology.

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Exploring the past, present and future of language

The Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Evolving Language is a nationwide interdisciplinary research consortium bringing together research groups from the humanities, from language and computer science, the social sciences, and the natural sciences at an unprecedented level. Together, we aim at solving one of humanity’s great mysteries: What is language? How did our species develop the ca­pa­city for linguistic expression, for processing language in the brain, and for con­sist­ently passing down new variations to the next generation? How will our capacity for language change in the face of digital com­munication and neuroengineering?

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  • Driscoll, I., Briefer, E. F., & Manser, M. B. (2024). The role of neighbour proximity and context on meerkat close call acoustic structure. Animal Behaviour, 212, 113–126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2024.03.021
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Evolving Language is led by Balthasar Bickel (Department of Comparative Language Science, UZH), Daphné Bavelier (Cognitive Neuroscience group, UNIGE) and Klaus Zuberbühler (Institute of Biology, University of Neuchâtel). Over 40 research groups across Switzerland are taking part in this NCCR, from 8 different institutions as well as partners in industry (Google AI, Sonova) and public organizations. The project has 3 leading houses: the University of Zürich, the University of Geneva and the University of Neuchâtel.

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