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Posts Tagged ‘sindya n. bhanoo’

Some readers of Suzanne’s Mom’s Blog (Asakiyume, for example) share my interest in obscure, threatened languages. Here is an ancient one that was new to me: Whistling Turkish.

Jay Walz reported in a 1964 NY Times article, “The whistler forms his ‘speech’ with tongue curled around his teeth so that the ‘words’ are forced through lips that are not puckered in the conventional whistling style; they are tensely drawn flat across the face. The palm of the left hand is cupped about the mouth, and high pressure is applied from the lungs.”

Sindya N. Bhanoo added to the science in the September 3, 2015, NY Times, “Unlike all other spoken languages, a whistled form of Turkish requires that ‘speakers’ rely as heavily on the right side of their brains as on the left side.”

In the New Yorker, Michelle Nijhuis describes a town that is unfortunately losing its whistling, “Kuşköy is remarkable not for how it looks but for how it sounds: here, the roar of the water and the daily calls to prayer are often accompanied by loud, lilting whistles — the distinctive tones of the local language. Over the past half-century, linguists and reporters curious about what locals call kuş dili, or ‘bird language,’ have occasionally struggled up the footpaths and dirt roads that lead to Kuşköy. So its thousand or so residents were not all that surprised when, a few years ago, a Turkish-born German biopsychologist named Onur Güntürkün showed up and asked them to participate in a study. …

“In 1964, a stringer for the Times reported that children in Kuşköy were learning to communicate by whistling before they started school, and that both men and women regularly gossiped, argued, and even courted via whistle. Three years later, a team of visiting linguists observed that whistling was widely used in both the village and the surrounding countryside. But Güntürkün found that few, if any, young women had learned the language, and that, although some young men were fluent whistlers, they had learned the skill as teen-agers, more out of pride than any practical need. … In a small town filled with nosy neighbors, texting affords a level of privacy that whistling never did.”

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At the NY Times, Sindya N. Bhanoo notes some cool research on young children’s sense of fairness.

“Children as young as age 3 will intervene on behalf of a victim, reacting as if victimized themselves, scientists have found.

“With toys, cookies and puppets, Keith Jensen, a psychologist at the University of Manchester in England, and his colleagues [Katrin Riedl, Josep Call, and Michael Tomasello] tried to judge how much concern 3- and 5-year-olds had for others, and whether they had a sense of so-called restorative justice.

“In one experiment, when one puppet took toys or cookies from another puppet, children responded by pulling a string that locked the objects in an inaccessible cave. When puppets took objects directly from the children themselves, they responded in the same way.

“ ‘The children treated these two violations equally,’ said Dr. Jensen, a co-author of the study published in the journal Current Biology.

“In another experiment, when an object was lost or stolen, children tried to right the wrong by returning the object to the puppet it belonged to.

“ ‘Their sense of justice is victim-focused rather than perpetrator focused,’ Dr. Jensen said.” More at the NY Times, here.

The abstract for “Restorative Justice in Children” is posted at Cell.com.

Photo: Keith Jensen
Two puppets used in a study that aimed to learn how much concern young children have for others. 

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Sindya N. Bhanoo writes at the NY Times about a surprising discovery under the waters of Lake Huron.

“A 9,000-year-old stone structure used to capture caribou has been discovered 120 feet beneath the surface of Lake Huron. Researchers say it is the most complex structure of its kind in the Great Lakes region. …

“The remarkable structure consists of a lane with two parallel lines of stones leading to a cul-de-sac. Within the lines are three circular hunting blinds where prehistoric hunters hid while taking aim at caribou. …

“The site was discovered using sonar technology on the Alpena-Amberley Ridge, 35 miles southeast of Alpena, Mich., which was once a dry land corridor connecting northeastern Michigan to southern Ontario.

“In their paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers suggest that the hunting structure was used in the spring, when large groups of hunter-gatherers assembled.”

Hard to imagine life 9,000 years ago. Anthropological archaeologists have the best fun. More here.

Photo: University of Michigan via Associated Press

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