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  9. How related is skin to a quilt or door to worry? Here, we show that linguistic experience strongly informs people’s judgments of such word pairs. We asked Chinese-speakers, English-speakers, and Chinese-English bilinguals to rate semantic and visual similarity between pairs of Chinese words and of their English translation equivalents. Some pairs were unrelated, others were also unrelated but shared a radical (e.g., “expert” and “dolphin” share the radical meaning “pig”), others also shared a radical which invokes a metaphorical relationship. For example, a quilt covers the body like skin; understand, with a sun radical, invokes understanding as illumination. Importantly, themore »shared radicals are not part of the pronounced word form. Chinese speakers rated word pairs with metaphorical connections as more similar than other pairs. English speakers did not even though they were sensitive to shared radicals. Chinese-English bilinguals showed sensitivity to the metaphorical connections even when tested with English words.« less
  10. Certain colors are strongly associated with certain adjectives (e.g. red is hot, blue is cold). Some of these associations are grounded in visual experiences like seeing hot embers glow red. Surprisingly, many congenitally blind people show similar color associations, despite lacking all visual experience of color. Presumably, they learn these associations via language. Can we detect these associations in the statistics of language? And if so, what form do they take? We apply a projection method to word embeddings trained on corpora of spoken and written text to identify color-adjective associations as they are represented in language. We show thatmore »these projections are predictive of color-adjective ratings collected from blind and sighted people, and that the effect size depends on the training corpus. Finally, we examine how color-adjective associations might be represented in language by training word embeddings on corpora from which various sources of color-semantic information are removed.« less