University of Essex - Playing with words is encouraged

February 5, 2009

Researchers are learning more about how humans understand and use language by getting ordinary people to read short stories and Wikipedia articles in an online game called Phrase Detectives. The volunteers are asked by researchers at the University of Essex to read through texts and annotate them to highlight the relationships between words and phrases. "Data like this ultimately benefits us all - for example, it could help search engines find information more relevant to your searches," said Jon Chamberlain, who is leading the research. "Human language is not an unconnected series of words, phrases and sentences, but a series of people, objects and ideas that refer to each other in different ways." Volunteers can join the study at www.phrasedetectives.org.

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