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Concept: Noun

170

Creation and use of the scientific names of animals are ruled by the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. Until recently, publication of new names in a work produced with ink on paper was required for their availability. A long awaited amendment to the Code issued in September 2012 by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature now allows publication of new names in online-only works, provided that the latter are registered with ZooBank, the Official Register of Animal Names. With this amendment, the rules of zoological nomenclature have been aligned with the opportunities (and needs) of our digital era. However, possible causes for nomenclatural instability remain. These could be completely removed if the Code-compliant publication of new names will be identified with their online registration, under suitable technological and formal (legal) conditions. Future developments of the ZooBank may provide the tool required to make this definitive leap ahead in zoological nomenclature.

Concepts: Animal, Taxonomy, Noun, Binomial nomenclature, Name, International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, Nomenclature, International Code of Botanical Nomenclature

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Recent research reported the surprising finding that even 6-mo-olds understand common nouns [Bergelson E, Swingley D (2012) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109:3253-3258]. However, is their early lexicon structured and acquired like older learners? We test 6-mo-olds for a hallmark of the mature lexicon: cross-word relations. We also examine whether properties of the home environment that have been linked with lexical knowledge in older children are detectable in the initial stage of comprehension. We use a new dataset, which includes in-lab comprehension and home measures from the same infants. We find evidence for cross-word structure: On seeing two images of common nouns, infants looked significantly more at named target images when the competitor images were semantically unrelated (e.g., milk and foot) than when they were related (e.g., milk and juice), just as older learners do. We further find initial evidence for home-lab links: common noun “copresence” (i.e., whether words' referents were present and attended to in home recordings) correlated with in-lab comprehension. These findings suggest that, even in neophyte word learners, cross-word relations are formed early and the home learning environment measurably helps shape the lexicon from the outset.

Concepts: Understanding, Structure, Noun, Lexeme, Reference, Name, Nomenclature, Lexicon

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BACKGROUND: In the last decade transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) have been introduced in aphasia post-stroke recovery as a tool for modulating neuroplasticity. However, it is still unclear whether tDCS should be applied at rest (off-line) or combined with behavioural treatment strategies (on-line), therefore, this study investigates the effect of repeated sessions of off-line tDCS on language recovery in post-stroke chronic aphasic patients. METHODOLOGY: Eight post-stroke patients with different type and degree of chronic aphasia underwent two weeks of off-line anodal tDCS (2mA intensity for 20minutes a day) on Broca’s area and two weeks of sham stimulation as a control condition. Language recovery was measured assessing object and action naming abilities with a computerized picture naming task. RESULTS: No significant difference between anodal tDCS and sham stimulation, both for object and action naming tasks, was found. Descriptive analysis of single cases showed that after tDCS only one patient improved substantially on action naming task. CONCLUSION: With the exception of one patient, the overall results suggest that in chronic aphasic patients the off-line tDCS protocol applied in this study is not effective in improving noun and verb naming abilities.

Concepts: Wernicke's area, Language, Noun, Transcranial direct current stimulation, Aphasia, Broca's area, Conduction aphasia, Nominal aphasia

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This article reports a self-strangulation suicide in which a double complex group of ligatures was used. Although similar cases have been referenced in forensic literature, this case is notable because of the unusual method used by the victim. A 61-year-old man was found in a locked room with a double elaborate ligature comprising six wire clothes hangers completely encircling the neck and a black rubber band in a double loop. Autopsy also documented parallel superficial cut lesions in proximal forearm interpreted as hesitation marks. It stresses the importance of characteristics such as analysis of number of ligatures, position of the knots, number of knots and turns of ligature marks and the absence of any defense and relevant internal injuries inherent to suicide ligature strangulation cases.

Concepts: Report, Case, Noun, Victim, Strangling, Rubber

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This study investigated how forty-six mothers modified their talk about familiar and unfamiliar nouns and verbs when interacting with their children with Down Syndrome (DS), language impairment (LI), or typical development (TD). Children (MLUs < 2·7) were group-matched on expressive vocabulary size. Mother-child dyads were recorded playing with toy animals (noun task) and action boxes (verb task). Mothers of children with DS used shorter utterances and more verb labels in salient positions than the other two groups. All mothers produced unfamiliar target nouns in short utterances, in utterance-final position, and with the referent perceptually available. Mothers also talked more about familiar nouns and verbs and labelled them more often and more consistently. These findings suggest that mothers of children in the early period of language development fine-tune their input in ways that reflect their children's vocabulary knowledge, but do so differently for nouns and verbs.

Concepts: Down syndrome, Object, Noun, Verb, Speech, Reference, Grammatical number, Word game

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There is compelling evidence that context strongly influences our choice of words (e.g., whether we refer to a particular animal with the basic-level name “bird” or the subordinate-level name “duck”). However, little is known about whether the context already affects the degree to which the alternative words are activated. In this study, we explored the effect of a preceding linguistic context on the phonological activation of alternative picture names. In Experiments 1 to 3, the context was established by a request produced by an imaginary interlocutor. These requests either constrained the naming response to the subordinate level on pragmatic grounds (e.g., “name the bird!”) or not (e.g., “name the object!”). In Experiment 4, the context was established by the speaker’s own previous naming response. Participants named the pictures with their subordinate-level names and the phonological activation of the basic-level names was assessed with distractor words phonologically related versus unrelated to that name (e.g., “birch” vs. “lamp”). In all experiments, we consistently found that distractor words phonologically related to the basic-level name interfered with the naming response more strongly than unrelated distractor words. Moreover, this effect was of comparable size for nonconstraining and constraining contexts indicating that the alternative name was phonologically activated and competed for selection, even when it was not an appropriate lexical option. Our results suggest that the speech production system is limited in its ability of flexibly adjusting and fine-tuning the lexical activation patterns of words (among which to choose from) as a function of pragmatic constraints. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Effect, Linguistics, Language, Phonetics, Noun, Name, Lexicography, .jobs

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Do principles of language processing in the brain affect the way grammar evolves over time or is language change just a matter of socio-historical contingency? While the balance of evidence has been ambiguous and controversial, we identify here a neurophysiological constraint on the processing of language that has a systematic effect on the evolution of how noun phrases are marked by case (i.e. by such contrasts as between the English base form she and the object form her). In neurophysiological experiments across diverse languages we found that during processing, participants initially interpret the first base-form noun phrase they hear (e.g. she…) as an agent (which would fit a continuation like … greeted him), even when the sentence later requires the interpretation of a patient role (as in … was greeted). We show that this processing principle is also operative in Hindi, a language where initial base-form noun phrases most commonly denote patients because many agents receive a special case marker (“ergative”) and are often left out in discourse. This finding suggests that the principle is species-wide and independent of the structural affordances of specific languages. As such, the principle favors the development and maintenance of case-marking systems that equate base-form cases with agents rather than with patients. We confirm this evolutionary bias by statistical analyses of phylogenetic signals in over 600 languages worldwide, controlling for confounding effects from language contact. Our findings suggest that at least one core property of grammar systematically adapts in its evolution to the neurophysiological conditions of the brain, independently of socio-historical factors. This opens up new avenues for understanding how specific properties of grammar have developed in tight interaction with the biological evolution of our species.

Concepts: Evolution, Linguistics, Word, Subject, Phrase, Noun, Syntax, Noun phrase

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An improved and expanded nomenclature for genetic sequences is introduced that corresponds with a ranking of the reliability of the taxonomic identification of the source specimens. This nomenclature is an advancement of the “Genetypes” naming system, which some have been reluctant to adopt because of the use of the “type” suffix in the terminology. In the new nomenclature, genetic sequences are labeled “genseq,” followed by a reliability ranking (e.g., 1 if the sequence is from a primary type), followed by the name of the genes from which the sequences were derived (e.g., genseq-1 16S, COI). The numbered suffix provides an indication of the likely reliability of taxonomic identification of the voucher. Included in this ranking system, in descending order of taxonomic reliability, are the following: sequences from primary types - “genseq-1,” secondary types - “genseq-2,” collection-vouchered topotypes - “genseq-3,” collection-vouchered non-types - “genseq-4,” and non-types that lack specimen vouchers but have photo vouchers - “genseq-5.” To demonstrate use of the new nomenclature, we review recently published new-species descriptions in the ichthyological literature that include DNA data and apply the GenSeq nomenclature to sequences referenced in those publications. We encourage authors to adopt the GenSeq nomenclature (note capital “G” and “S” when referring to the nomenclatural program) to provide a searchable tag (e.g., “genseq”; note lowercase “g” and “s” when referring to sequences) for genetic sequences from types and other vouchered specimens. Use of the new nomenclature and ranking system will improve integration of molecular phylogenetics and biological taxonomy and enhance the ability of researchers to assess the reliability of sequence data. We further encourage authors to update sequence information on databases such as GenBank whenever nomenclatural changes are made.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Biology, Taxonomy, Noun, Biological classification, Name, Nomenclature

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Signed languages exhibit iconicity (resemblance between form and meaning) across their vocabulary, and many non-Indo-European spoken languages feature sizable classes of iconic words known as ideophones. In comparison, Indo-European languages like English and Spanish are believed to be arbitrary outside of a small number of onomatopoeic words. In three experiments with English and two with Spanish, we asked native speakers to rate the iconicity of ~600 words from the English and Spanish MacArthur-Bates Communicative Developmental Inventories. We found that iconicity in the words of both languages varied in a theoretically meaningful way with lexical category. In both languages, adjectives were rated as more iconic than nouns and function words, and corresponding to typological differences between English and Spanish in verb semantics, English verbs were rated as relatively iconic compared to Spanish verbs. We also found that both languages exhibited a negative relationship between iconicity ratings and age of acquisition. Words learned earlier tended to be more iconic, suggesting that iconicity in early vocabulary may aid word learning. Altogether these findings show that iconicity is a graded quality that pervades vocabularies of even the most “arbitrary” spoken languages. The findings provide compelling evidence that iconicity is an important property of all languages, signed and spoken, including Indo-European languages.

Concepts: Spanish language, Linguistics, Language, Word, Noun, Verb, Semiotics, Romance languages