Alessio Quaresima

Alessio’s path to language is an intricate maze, he studied physics in Rome and became acquainted with the mysteries of brain science at the end of his master studies. During a hot italian summer he read about cognitive science and decided to try out a PhD in Neurobiology of Language. His project at the Max Planck is to bridge the neurobiological description of brain physiology and functioning with the fundamental bricks of language, the words.

Alessio loves to read and write about science and fiction. He is fascinated by the infinite surprises the material world can produce, from the astonishing stars to the perfect mechanisms that support life. His favourite way to spend time is to look into things and understand how they work. He likes the hacker way and puts his hands and nose into whatever, getting along with the risk of getting shocked. The rest of the time he enjoys walking in nature and cooking risotto.

A handful of vowels for a world of sounds

Sounds are the basic ingredients of spoken language, and the human voice can produce an infinity of different sounds. However, we have only a limited number of possibilities for speech sounds, like consonants and vowels. How do we transform infinity in an alphabet? Let’s dive into categorical perception.

Reverse speaking? C’est ouf!

Slang is an important way for social groups to stress their cultural identity. Also, some slangs can be used to convey secret information within a community, without outsiders understanding what they are talking about. How does this work? Here, we look at an example from French and try to understand how slang words are learned and used.