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Which English?

One of the oldest findings in the study of the mind is that children are better at learning languages than adults. But when you bring children and adults into the lab, adults are better at any language-learning task you give them. So whatever is happening, it happens at a very different timescale than what we can study in the lab.

In this project, we are taking advantage of the fact that different people start learning English at different ages -- anything from birth to old age. We are using the Internet to get a very broad sample of people who started English and different ages and have different first languages -- a much, much more detailed survey than has ever been attempted before.

To help you get a sense of what we're learning as the project progresses, we've added some machine learning to the quiz that tries to guess your dialect. As we get more participants, the guesses will get more sophisticated, including guessing whether your native language is English.

We are also building interactive infographics to describe the data as it comes in. You can find them on our blog. The first one is available now at http://www.gameswithwords.org/WhichEnglish/dialect_results.html




Ignore That!

How distractable are you? How well can you ignore irrelevant information?

See your results at the end of this activity and help us learn more about the structure of language, meaning, and thought in the process.




The VerbCorner Project

Dictionaries have existed for centuries, but scientists still haven't worked out the exact meanings for most words. This is a serious problem if you want to train computers to understand language. If we don't know what words mean, it's hard to teach computers what they mean. It is similarly hard to understand how children come learn the meanings of words, when we don't fully understand those meanings ourselves.

Rather than try to work out the definition of a word all at once, we have broken the problem into a series of separate tasks. Each task has a fanciful backstory -- which we hope you enjoy! -- but at its heart, each task is asking about a specific component of meaning that scientists suspect makes up one of the building blocks of meaning.

You can participate for as little as a few minutes or come back to the site over and over to help code the many thousands of words in English.




Fish Watchers

FishBase is an information system with key data on the biology of all fishes. The information will be used to create up-to-date distribution maps to assist in monitoring trends in biodiversity.

Divers, anglers, aquarists, and researchers can create their personal or institutional databases of where and when they have seen, caught, or acquired a particular fish. Biodiversity managers can create national fish biodiversity databases to keep track of local regulations and uses. Anthropologists can create a database on local knowledge about fish.

Similar to an encyclopedia, FishBase offers different things for different people. Fishery managers, teachers and students, taxonomists, conservationists, policymakers, research scientists, funding agencies, zoologists and physiologists, ecologists, geneticists, and the fishing industry, anglers, and scholars will find more than 100,000 common names of fishes together with the language/culture in which they are used and comments on their etymology.




OMEGA-LOCATE

Nonmarine ostracods, tiny crustaceans with an excellent fossil record, are common in aquatic ecosystems. The Ostracod Metadatabase of Environmental and Geographical Attributes (OMEGA) facilitates access to global geographical and environmental distributional data for nonmarine ostracods, supporting applications in biodiversity auditing, biogeography and the calibration of species as fossil proxies for past environmental and climatic change. Citizen Scientists can help improve accuracy and coverage of datasets by adding, correcting and validating the geographical coordinates of localities.




Cure Together

CureTogether is a worldwide health research project that brings patients and researchers together to find cures for some of the most painful, prevalent, and chronic conditions. Users anonymously track their own health care data, including medication schedules, symptoms, and treatment plans, and provide it other participants around the world.

By making aggregate health data available for analysis, CureTogether provides a conduit for citizens to work together to better understand their bodies, make more informed treatment decisions, and influence scientific research.





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