Archive for Nonverbal communication

Now it's cows that use names (sigh)

According to a sub-headline in Full-Time Whistle, new scientific research has shown that "Cows and their calves communicate using individualised calls equivalent to human names."

How interesting. Cows have enough linguistic sophistication to employ the high-level device of personal naming? Let us delve into the details just a little, without moving away from the article itself.

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Body language

One of the best empirical studies of body language that I've ever seen appeared a couple of days ago in, of all places, the Wall Street Journal — Geoff Foster, "Reading Tiger's Body Language", 8/6/2013.

Perhaps more than any other golfer, Woods makes his emotions transparent on the course. You can immediately tell by his swagger when he's stroked a drive down the fairway. If he flubs one into the trees, you will likely see (or hear) his disgust before the ball hits a branch.

This inspired The Count to conduct an audit of the top-ranked golfer's body language. The goal was to provide fans with a Rosetta Stone of Tiger reactions—a handbook allowing those watching the PGA to know exactly what Woods thinks of his shots before anyone else does.

We watched more than 220 of Woods's shots from six different tournaments this year—the Masters, the Players, the Memorial, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, the U.S. Open and the British Open—and logged his reaction after each swing. Only tee shots and approach shots were evaluated (on putts and chips, the cameras tend to show the ball, not the player). The shots were then classified as "Good" (down the fairway/near the pin), "OK" (in the first cut/on the green but not close to the hole) and "Bad" (in the trees, the bunkers, the deep rough, etc.).

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Wordless traffic signs in China

On the blog "Mama's Got Wanderlust", the following sign appears without adequate explanation:

Before turning to the next page, Language Log readers are encouraged to try their hand at an explanation. Write down on a piece of paper what you think the sign means BEFORE you turn the page. Scout's honor!

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