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April 05, 2010

New research with implications for language teaching - We can accurately predict what others are going to say

Stanford.jpegNew research published in the March edition of Language shows that we try to predict what others are going to say and do so with a remarkable degree of accuracy. Science Daily comments: 'This intrinsic ability to predict based on probability has implications for language comprehension. Educators engaged in foreign language instruction might effectively focus their initial efforts on the most probable sentence constructions....These research findings on linguistic probability may also be helpful in making computerized language more natural. Another practical application would be in the refinement of tools used in profiling and diagnosing those with language disorders.'

The research was carried out by Joan Bresnan, a professor at Stanford University, and Marilyn Ford, a professor at Griffith University, who commented in an interview: 'Linguistic patterns are important in predicting comprehension. If we can make better use of these patterns to enhance comprehension, then we can improve people's ability to understand one another.'

Click here to see the full research paper.

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