Age guessing game

I like this little game. Guess the age of the people from their short voice clips at this link. I never guessed them exactly, but was always within five years. I found the children’s voices the hardest to gauge. I work as a part-time receptionist at the moment and it’s amazing how automatically you assume someone’s age by their telephone voice.


Non-verbal communication was important in language development

Non-verbal communication is important to human communication. Think about how different it can be talking to someone on the telephone from speaking face-to-face. Communication is two-way, so we adapt our communication (verbal and non-verbal) depending on the other person’s response. If someone isn’t engaging with you, such as smiling at your jokes, then you might tone down the humour, if you want to encourage someone to keep talking you might smile or nod your head.

A recent study looked at the reactions of two chimpanzees (who have been trained in language) to communicate with a human to find hidden food. The chimpanzees increased their use of non-verbal communication, such as pointing, when the human approaches the food, thus meaning the food is found quicker. This study suggests that the use of non-verbal cues in response to an action is likely to have been important in the development of human language.


How to make people listen to train announcements

Today an announcer on my train was proclaiming each station as though he was announcing the winner of a grade prize, drawing out the words with anticipation. It definitely livened up my train journey. Everyone normally zones out train announcements, but the use of the out-of-place style definitely caught my attention! I wonder how else you could deliver boring train information so people might listen to it?


New year, new bookshelves

Happy New year!

I was given some books for Christmas, but I now face the challenge of shelving them. For someone who reads so much, you’d think I’d have better organised bookshelves. Luckily I mainly listen to audiobooks and get books from the library, but I have a big enough collection of books to want to organise them.

Currently my books are divided into rough sections: knitting, craft and maths (?!) books; cookery books; books about literature, architecture, grammar, spelling and style guides; chemistry textbooks for my evening course; dictionaries and academic linguistic books; poetry and books about unusual words; travel guides; books I’m currently reading; books on loan from the library or other people; annnd fiction. Just a big mess of fiction. It’s vaguely arranged with series grouped together in the same place, but really it’s a mess. I’m thinking of reordering if for the start of a new year, but I’m not sure how? Fiction is the main problem as it’s a three-deep shelf so I can only see 1/3 of the book titles at a time.

I was looking at these some suggestions on bookshelf arrangements (here and here). I remember being confused by my cousin’s colour coordinated bookshelf when I was younger and that still doesn’t make much sense to me. Genera won’t really work because I mainly just have fantasy, humour and classics. I read other generas, but usually get them from the library. I liked a suggestion about ordering books by emotional response. I think something similar might work for me: ‘Light’, ‘thought provoking’, ‘summery day’, ‘curled up with a cup of tea in winter’, ‘comfort books’, ‘sad’, etc.? Maybe not your typical library system, but could be what I want. I’m now curious about how other people arrange their bookshelves?