Media coverage


Our work on conversation across cultures —particularly our discovery that ‘huh?’ may be a universal word— has drawn worldwide attention. “Huh?” has been heralded as ‘the syllable that everyone recognises’ (New York Times) and ‘the most important word in the world’ (Süddeutsche Zeitung). This page lists a small selection of the international media coverage. Elsewhere we list key findings and answer frequently asked questions.

The paper itself was published on Friday November 8. Within one week it amassed over 100,000 views, immediately landing it in the Top 5 most viewed PLOS ONE  papers of 2013. Within two weeks it rocketed into the Top 15 most viewed papers of PLOS ONE of all time and it has consistently stayed there. Two years after its publication, it has well over 200,000 views. Google Scholar counts over 50 citations, which is relatively high for the field of linguistics, where overall citation rates are low.

Altmetric, a service measuring attention in major news outlets and on social media, notes that in terms of media attention, this paper is the “16th highest scoring article” of around 110,000 articles in PLOS ONE. It scored “higher than 99% of its peers” and is in the top 1000 of over 8 million scientific articles tracked by Altmetric. The paper has between tweeted over 800 times, reaching a combined audience of more than 3.5 million followers.

International press

Altmetric identified over 70 international news outlets that wrote about the research and linked to it online. The total number of international news sources covering the study online and offline is in the hundreds.

New York Times — That Syllable Everyone Recognizes (Jenny Schuessler)

LA Times — Huh? Scientists find a version in each of 10 languages studied (Amina Khan)

Süddeutsche Zeitung — Das wichtigste Wort der Welt [The most important word in the world] (Katrin Blawat)

Die Welt — Stammeln ist menschlich (Matthias Heine)

NY Magazine — The Universality of the word “Huh?” (Melissa Dahl)

The Week — Pretty much everyone on earth says “Huh?” (Jeva Lange)

South China Morning Post — Huh? may be the one universal word, global study of languages suggests

Público — “Hã?”: uma palavrinha curta, simples e quase igual em todas as línguas (Ana Gerschenfeld)

ABC — La expresión ‘eh?’ es universal

La Repubblica — Per gli scienziati “Eh?” è la prima parola universale

Svenska Dagbladet — Forskare har hittat det universella ordet

Eurekalert (via Max Planck Society) — Universals of Conversation

Korea Times — A universal word

 

Major magazines, blogs & social media

TheAtlantic — The Universal Psychology of ‘Huh?’ (Olga Khazan)

New Statesman — What is the one word that is the same in every language? (Martha Gill)

NPR.org — Could one word unite the world? (Alva Noë)

BoingBoing — “Huh?” is the universal word (Cory Doctorow)

Improbable Research — Huh here, Huh there, Huh everywhere? (Marc Abrahams)

Slate.com — Video report about ‘Huh?’ (Paca Thomas)

Slate.fr — Toutes les languages du monde ont un hein? en commun (Laurent Pointecouteau)

Smithsonian Magazine — What makes ‘huh?’ a universal word? (Arika Okrent)

Huffington Post — Huh is global, study shows

Reddit — Is “Huh?” a universal word?” (w/ 800+ comments)

Motherboard/Vice — “Huh?” Is the Closest We’ve Come to a Universal Word (Victoria Turk)

MentalFloss —  The word “Huh?” might be universal (Anna Green)

UpWorthy — Turns out, everybody says “huh?” or something pretty darn close (Dan Lewis)

Twitter

According to Altmetric, about 800 Twitter users with a lower bound of 3.000.000 followers have tweeted the PLOS ONE paper directly. That estimate does not include the many thousands of Twitter users who have tweeted links to other media reports.

Our discovery also entered the mainstream of factoid-sharing channels, where hundreds of likes, comments, or retweets are the norm.

 

Radio & TV

NPR Science (Nov 16, 2013)

Scientific American Science Podcast (Nov 15, 2013)

DiscoveryNews (Nov 15, 2013)

CNN Chile (Nov 11, 2013)

Detektor.fm Leipzig (Nov 13, 2013)

And many more prominent programs that do not list their broadcasts online — ABC Melbourne  & 774 Breakfast Radio in Australia, CPR in Connecticut, etc.

Nederlandse media

De papieren versies van alle grote Nederlandstalige kranten berichtten over ons werk: Trouw (Wybo Algra), De Volkskrant (Mieke Zijlmans) en NRC Handelsblad (Ellen de Bruin), alsook De Telegraaf, Algemeen Dagblad en De Standaard. Ook de volgende belangrijke online publicaties:

Kennislink — Of je worst lust! (Over het universele woordje hè) (Mathilde Jansen)

Neder-L — Iedereen zegt Huh? (Marc van Oostendorp)

Taaljournalist — ‘Da’s convergente evolutie’ – ‘Hè?’ (Gaston Dorren)

nu.nl — Woordje ‘hè?’ blijkt universeel (Dennis Rijnvis)

Radio

Radio 1 — Labyrint (NTR/VPRO) (17 november)

Radio 2 — Spijkers met Koppen (VARA ) (16 november)

Radio 5 — Hoe?Zo! (NTR) (11 november)

Radio 1 België — Joos (12 november)