How Much Energy Does It Cost to Use Language?

Speech Science/Linguistics/Anthropology/Psychology/Other

As with all human behavior, speaking or signing incurs in an energy cost. But how much? Are such costs very different across the languages of the world? Does it matter to understand linguistic behavior and/or language evolution? In collaboration with colleagues at Duke University we are setting up an experiment to test some of these questions.

This projects involves mainly the two following tasks:

  • Gathering data on comparable texts across a few target languages (tentatively English, Vietnamese, Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin Chinese)
  • Reviewing previous literature on the cost of speaking/signing