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      How cheap, outsourced labour in Africa is shaping AI English

      news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · 5 days ago - 10:43

    Workers in Africa have been exploited first by being paid a pittance to help make chatbots, then by having their own words become AI-ese. Plus, new AI gadgets are coming for your smartphones

    Don’t get TechScape delivered to your inbox? Sign up for the full article here

    We’re witnessing the birth of AI-ese, and it’s not what anyone could have guessed. Let’s delve deeper.

    If you’ve spent enough time using AI assistants, you’ll have noticed a certain quality to the responses generated. Without a concerted effort to break the systems out of their default register, the text they spit out is, while grammatically and semantically sound, ineffably generated.

    The images pop up in Mophat Okinyi’s mind when he’s alone, or when he’s about to sleep. Okinyi, a former content moderator for Open AI’s ChatGPT in Nairobi, Kenya, is one of four people in that role who have filed a petition to the Kenyan government calling for an investigation into what they describe as exploitative conditions for contractors reviewing the content that powers artificial intelligence programs.

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      Disappearing tongues: the endangered language crisis – podcast

      news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · Friday, 12 April - 04:00

    Linguistic diversity on Earth is far more profound and fundamental than previously imagined. But it’s also crumbling fast. By Ross Perlin

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      www.theguardian.com /news/audio/2024/apr/12/disappearing-tongues-the-endangered-language-crisis-podcast

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      Will collaborative Scrabble ruin the next generation? I’d bet my last qapik it won’t | Tim Clare

      news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · Wednesday, 10 April - 10:00

    Some are outraged by a version for people ‘intimidated’ by word games. Take it from me: Scrabble rules are for breaking

    It’s “a terrible indictment of our education system”, “a sad, sad indictment of modern society” and a move that will mean “future generations will be deprived of their full potential”. This was the reaction of outraged commenters to the launch of a new edition of Scrabble called Scrabble Together.

    Mattel’s update of the 75-year-old tile-laying word game includes a mode in which players collaborate to make words and score the most points as a team. Cards give players hints to help them find the best words. It’s intended to offer a less competitive, more accessible experience where players of differing ages and abilities can enjoy working on a puzzle together.

    Tim Clare is a columnist for Tabletop Gaming magazine. His book The Game Changers: How Playing Games Changed the World and Can Change You Too will be published in November

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      Bait, ting, certi: how UK rap changed the language of the nation

      news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · Tuesday, 9 April - 09:28

    Fuelled by music fandom and social media, young British people’s slang is evolving to include words with pidgin, patois and Arabic roots – even where strong regional English dialects exist

    There’s a video format spreading on TikTok. Recorded in towns across suburban England, teenage interviewers stop their peers on the street, fielding questions that range from fashion choices to humorous hypotheticals and local neighbourhood dramas, in the process building a large social media following and showcasing their patch of land to the world. “950 [pounds] for that, you know my ting,” a teenage white boy says about his Canada Goose jacket in a video recorded in Bury St Edmunds. “We’re checking his drip, ya dun know, you heard my man,” someone says in another video.

    Both the hosts and many of the interviewees speak with this distinct drawl – Multicultural London English (MLE), a dialect born in London’s African-Caribbean communities in the 1970s and 80s. (Some now argue that “Black British English” is a more fitting term.) It’s rooted in Jamaican patois with influences from cockney, and more recently Arabic, the US and West African Pidgin English.

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      The Guardian view on endangered languages: spoken by a few but of value to many | Editorial

      news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · Friday, 5 April - 17:25

    The survival of ancient dialects matters not just for scholarship, but because of the wisdom they convey about how to live with nature

    The launch of a “last chance” crowdsourcing tool to record a vanishing Greek dialect drew attention back this week to one of the great extinctions of the modern world: nine languages are believed to be disappearing every year. Romeyka, which is spoken by an ageing population of a few thousand people in the mountain villages near Turkey’s Black Sea coast, diverged from modern Greek thousands of years ago. It has no written form.

    For linguists, it is a “living bridge” to the ancient Hellenic world, the loss of which would clearly be a blow. But some languages are in even bigger trouble, with 350 that have fewer than 50 native speakers and 46 that have just one. A collaboration between Australian and British institutions paints the situation in stark colours, with a language stripes chart, devised to illustrate the accelerating decline in each decade between 1700 and today. Its authors predict that between 50% and 90% of the world’s 7,000 languages will be extinct by 2150. Even now, half of the people on the planet speak just 24 of them.

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      Endangered Greek dialect is ‘living bridge’ to ancient world, researchers say

      news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · Wednesday, 3 April - 05:00

    Romeyka descended from ancient Greek but may die out as it has no written form and is spoken by only a few thousand people

    An endangered form of Greek that is spoken by only a few thousand people in remote mountain villages of northern Turkey has been described as a “living bridge” to the ancient world, after researchers identified characteristics that have more in common with the language of Homer than with modern Greek.

    The precise number of speakers of Romeyka is hard to quantify. It has no written form, but has survived orally in the mountain villages around Trabzon, near the Black Sea coast.

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      The Washington Book: How to Read Politics and Politicians review – unpicking the lexicon of America’s leaders

      news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · Sunday, 31 March - 17:00 · 1 minute

    New York Times columnist Carlos Lozada examines the speeches, writing and linguistic tics of presidents and members of Congress to expose ‘inveterate deceivers’

    Politicians mince or mash words for a living, and the virtuosity with which they twist meanings makes them artists of a kind. Their skill at spinning facts counts as a fictional exercise: in political jargon, a “narrative” is a storyline that warps truth for partisan purposes. Carlos Lozada, formerly a reviewer for the Washington Post and now a columnist at the New York Times , specialises in picking apart these professional falsehoods. Analysing windy orations, ghostwritten memoirs and faceless committee reports, the essays in his book expose American presidents, members of Congress and supreme court justices as unreliable narrators, inveterate deceivers who betray themselves in careless verbal slips.

    Lozada has a literary critic’s sharp eye, and an alertly cocked ear to go with it. Thus he fixes on a stray remark made by Trump as he rallied the mob that invaded the Capitol in January 2021. Ordering the removal of metal detectors, he said that the guns his supporters toted didn’t bother him, because “they’re not here to hurt me”. Lozada wonders about the emphasis in that phrase: did it neutrally fall on “hurt” or come down hard on “me”? If the latter, it licensed the rampant crowd to hurt Trump’s enemies – for instance by stringing up his disaffected vice-president Mike Pence on a gallows outside the Capitol.

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      Dogs can understand the meaning of nouns, new research finds

      news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · Friday, 22 March - 15:00

    Study confirms our canine companions can grasp more than simple commands – or at least for items they care about

    Dogs understand what certain words stand for, according to researchers who monitored the brain activity of willing pooches while they were shown balls, slippers, leashes and other highlights of the domestic canine world.

    The finding suggests that the dog brain can reach beyond commands such as “sit” and “fetch”, and the frenzy-inducing “walkies”, to grasp the essence of nouns, or at least those that refer to items the animals care about.

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      Early learning needs parental engagement | Letter

      news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · Sunday, 10 March - 18:08

    Fashions in speech change, but children need to learn to speak clearly and fluently, writes Janice White

    I share John Harris’s concern ( Opinion, 3 March ) over Kindred 2 ’s new study about an increase in the number of children starting school who are not “school-ready”, which reported that 28% of children in reception year “ incorrectly use books (swiping or tapping as if using an electronic device)”. May I suggest another reason why young children now have difficulty learning to read? Many appear to have little verbal interaction with the adults in their life.

    In public I often see a parent with child in pushchair, the parent completely engaged on their mobile phone while the child, given a tablet to keep them quiet, taps and swipes distractedly as the screen changes.

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